Latest articles

Mastering Patent Timing: Essential Insights for Savvy Inventors

April 12, 2024

As the engine of innovation continues to power forward, inventors around the globe are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. But amidst the excitement of creation, there’s a critical factor that can’t be overlooked: TIMING!

For inventors seeking to protect their inventions through patents, timing is of the essence. In this guide, we’ll delve into the essential timing requirements every inventor must understand to protect their inventions effectively, both domestically and internationally.

Preserving International Rights: The Importance of Pre-Filing Secrecy

When it comes to international patent protection, the rules are clear: to preserve your rights, you must file your patent application before any public disclosure. In this context, a public disclosure could constitute a printed or online publication disclosing the subject matter of the invention, an oral presentation at a conference accessible to members of the public, delivery of products to the public that reveal the subject matter of the invention, or other activities that put the subject matter within the public knowledge. To maximize the scope of your patent protection, it is essential to file your patent application before any public disclosure occurs.

The U.S.-Only One Year Grace Period

The United States is relatively unique in allowing for a one year grace period to file a patent application after a public disclosure. However, the types of activities that constitute a “public disclosure” in the U.S. are also broader compared to most other jurisdictions, and incorporate activities that do not necessarily directly put the subject matter of the invention within the public knowledge. in the U.S., the one year clock starts at the first publication, offer for sale, or commercial use of an invention (even if the offer for sale or commercial use do not necessarily directly reveal the subject matter of the invention). Given this wide range of activities that can trigger the start of this one year clock, it is imperative for inventors to proactively manage their intellectual property (IP) strategy and stay ahead of potential deadlines.

Safeguarding Secrets: The Role of Non-Disclosure Agreements

In the quest to protect their inventions, inventors often turn to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) as a shield against unwanted disclosures. A well-crafted NDA can provide invaluable protection by allowing inventors to share details of their invention with potential collaborators, investors, or partners without triggering any of the aforementioned deadlines. However, it’s essential to recognize that the effectiveness of an NDA hinges on its specific terms and enforceability. Inventors must exercise caution to ensure that disclosures, even under NDA, do not inadvertently jeopardize their rights. When in doubt, it’s advisable to err on the side of caution and consider filing patent applications early and often to safeguard against potential risks and uncertainties.

Race to the Patent Office and the “First-to-File” Provisions

Even in the absence of any actual or planned public disclosures, it is still imperative for inventors to consider filing a patent application as early as reasonably possible. This is because the patent law awards patent rights only to the first inventor to file a patent application on the claimed subject matter. Especially in crowded and fast-moving technology fields, filing early can be the difference between being awarded a patent or being blocked by a competitor that wins the race to file.

Crafting an Effective IP Strategy: Staying Ahead of the Clock

In today’s fast-paced business environment, inventors must proactively consider their IP strategy to stay ahead of potential threats to their rights. This means conducting regular IP audits, monitoring industry developments, and implementing robust confidentiality measures to safeguard inventions until they are ready for patent protection. By taking a proactive approach to IP strategy, inventors can mitigate the risk of inadvertently forfeiting their rights and maximize the value of their inventions in the global marketplace.

Partnering with Expertise: Guiding You Through the Patent Process

Navigating the complexities of patent law can be daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. Amsel IP Law, is here to guide you through every step of the patent process. From developing a strategic IP plan to preparing and filing your patent application, we’re committed to helping you protect your inventions and achieve your business objectives.

Want more insights like this from Amsel IP Law?

Click here to join our mailing list!

Ready to discuss your invention?

Contact Amsel IP Law today to learn more about how we can help you navigate the patent process and secure your inventions for the future. |

Latest Articles


Subscribe for news updates

Amsel IP Law would like to send you occasional news and updates. Click ‘Sign up’ below to join the firm’s mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time.