Can inventions be publicly disclosed prior to filing a US patent application?
Under the AIA patent reform law, an inventor has up to one year from his/her earliest date of public disclosure to file a US patent application. If the inventor’s own disclosure during this 1 year grace period precedes the public disclosure of a similar invention by a third party, then the third party’s disclosure will be excluded and will not count as prior art against the inventor’s patent application filed within the 1-year period.
Furthermore, exceptions to the first-to-file patent system apply for the inventor who discloses the invention within the 1-year grace period and prior to a third party’s patent filing date.
Basically, if an inventor’s prior disclosure during the 1-year grace period precedes the public disclosure or patent filing by a third party, the inventor wins by applying for a patent within the 1 year period.
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