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What You Need to Know About Public Disclosure in IP
Any non-confidential document or presentation that describes an invention is considered a public disclosure. In simple words, we can say that any non-confidential communication from an inventor or the owner of an invention to one or more members of the public that reveals the existence of the invention and makes it possible for someone with the necessary expertise to reproduce it is considered a public disclosure.
Publications in printed or electronic form, abstracts, oral or poster presentations at conferences and other papers (master’s thesis, doctoral dissertations, etc.), and other similar activities are examples of public disclosure. In the event that an inventor has publicly shared the idea, disclosed inventions may still be patented in some nations thanks to a “grace period,” which permits an inventor to file a patent application within a certain amount of time after making the invention public, because the earlier disclosure is not taken into account in that patent application as a prior art. In essence, a grace period gives 6 or 12 months following a public disclosure for filing a patent application. The grace period may vary from nation to nation. The public disclosure made by an inventor within the grace period is not regarded as prior art for the application, although this only pertains to the inventor(s) or person who is eligible to file for the patent, and not to independent disclosures made by third parties.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Does a Patent Disclosure Contain?
- Specifications Data – A patent application’s key document is the specification data. It shows how the invention differs from similar inventions in terms of innovation and outlines the extent of the monopoly the applicant believes he or she has over the invention. The apparatus, its manufacturing procedure, and the use of the invention are all clearly and accurately disclosed in the specification data. The specification data includes the filing date of the patent application. It also provides proof that the inventor is the rightful owner of the innovation.
- The Facilitation – This outline how the object is made and how a professional in the field might do it. The directions must be clear and precise, rather than general or ambiguous. Any figures or drawings should be included in this section, along with an explanation. Moreover, you should once again highlight what makes your invention unique. Therefore, you might wish to offer a lot of information and several invention modifications.
- Claims – The reader is informed in this section of the patent’s exclusive rights granted to the inventor. This clarifies the special object or component of the object. The basis for the ownership claim is its newness. Simple, direct sentences should be used to create this list. Each sentence will highlight a novel aspect of the object. This will then make the inventor’s monopoly clear. One claim must be made as a minimum.
- Other Information –
- A title in five to twelve straightforward words.
- Field of the invention- It is advised to classify the invention in one or two sentences.
- Background of the Invention – This describes the problem that the invention solves and examines possible solutions. Don’t explain the invention; merely convey the issue. Make this brief.
- Summary of the Invention – Include foundational vocabulary and structural elements. These would demonstrate how this product is novel and distinctive from others. To demonstrate why the claims are true, it is crucial that this section accurately represents what you said in the claims section. This section could include a few paragraphs.
- List of figures and drawings.
Patent Application in a Nation without a Grace Period
Even in nations without a grace period, it can still be feasible to secure a valid patent even if an abstract or brief explanation of an invention has previously been published. The invention may nevertheless be deemed novel, for instance, if the disclosure lacks sufficient information to let a person skilled in the art implement it. It would also be necessary to evaluate the claimed invention’s inventive step (obviousness) in comparison to an earlier disclosure, and this evaluation would depend on how much information regarding the invention had been made public.
Utility Model Grace Periods and other IP Rights Grace Period
Other intellectual property rights, such as registered designs and utility models, have grace periods in some jurisdictions. For instance, Registered Community Designs have a 12-month grace period (European Union). Therefore, even if a patent cannot be granted due to an earlier disclosure, other intellectual property rights for particular invention types may still be registrable. Utility models are rights similar to patents, but they differ from patents in that they frequently do not undergo an examination for novelty and creative step (non-obviousness) upon filing, have a reduced or non-existent need for an inventive step and have a shorter life (10 years for the above states).
The European Patent Convention countries in the table below operate a grace period for utility models.
EPC Member State
TimeLine for Grace Period of Some Countries
Each nation has a different grace period. The establishment of a grace period requires a trade-off between the flexibility benefits it can produce for applicants and the increased legal ambiguity it might cause for other parties. Below is a table that shows the grace period for different nations.
Country/Region having a Grace period of
Country/Region having a Grace period of
United States of America
Benefits of Public Disclosure
In the technical, business, and financial worlds, public disclosure is important and beneficial.
- Invention life cycle- Public disclosures are a crucial step in the invention life cycle and are essential to the strategic and operational objectives of an inventor or company. Establishing the dates of discovery, the extent of the invention, and the status of a concept as unpublished prior art are the goals of public disclosure. Public disclosures serve as an invention’s initial notice and provide the invention’s history and description when a patent application is made. By using public disclosure for patents, one can reduce concerns about idea theft.
- Invention Transparency- Public disclosures help the inventor or the owner of an invention in decision-making, facilitated by increased transparency in the management and operations of products that use the invention. Additionally, it lessens the chance of manipulation or improper use of invention and technology.
- Business Point of View – Any inventor or owner of an invention can sell a research document or prototype and set a bar date for a patent. So, any idea or disclosure of patents can be sold to other firms or persons.
- Idea Protection – Anyone can limit their idea to protect it from others to use, sell, or offer for sale.
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