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Avoiding Premature Public Disclosures

Avoiding Premature Public Disclosures
Staying Out of the Public Eye: Avoiding Premature Public Disclosures and their Patent-Barring Effects

When news of Thomas Edison’s lightbulb leaked before he could file for patent protection in 1879, he had to scramble to cut deals with those publicizing details, narrowly avoiding the public disclosure bars. Many inventors aren’t so lucky. Premature reveals or commercialization efforts often nip patents in the bud. So how can you ensure your activities don’t void eligibility?

According to 35 U.S.C. 102, selling, using, or even just describing your invention publicly prior to filing can result in a patent-ending one-two punch. Watch out for:

  • Printed publications disseminating details more than a year pre-filing
  • Speeches, presentations, or product demos stripping novelty
  • Unauthorized blog posts, emails, or sales materials leaking secrets
  • Crowdfunding campaigns publicizing inventions without protections
  • Offering to sell or commercially using inventions prior to filing

Luckily, disclosures won’t necessarily sink you if you file within a year of the priority date. But why gamble your rights? Global Patent Solutions helps inventors proactively safeguard patents. A few precautions can save years of work.

Don’t let impatience spoil your patent prospects. Be sure to keep breakthroughs under wraps, buying time to strategize IP protection before going public. Because once your secret is out, recapturing your rights can be impossible. File first, announce later!

This article is part of a series entitled “A Guide to Protecting Your Innovations”.  To start the series at the beginning, click here.

Next up in our series, we answer the question: “Are there any inventorship issues to address