Do You Have An Invention Idea? Having a great invention idea is something that could change someone’s life. However, it’s not always easy bringing an invention idea to fruition. It’s essential to do what you can to get help when you have an invention idea.
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1. Sold the Invention
In the United States you have 12 months from the time the invention was first sold within which to file either a provisional patent application or a nonprovisional patent application. If you wait longer than 12 months then you have forever forfeited the right to obtain a patent in the US. Still, as mentioned above, in the new first to file era for U.S. patent law you should never sell your invention or offer your invention for sale without having first filed a patent application.
Even if you are aware of this rule and you do not sell or offer your invention for sale before you file a patent application there can still be traps that await you. For example, if you file a patent application that fails to adequately disclose your invention and then you start selling you may find out later that the application you filed did nothing to establish priority. That could mean you need to start over fresh with a new application done properly. The trouble now is that you have been selling the invention thinking you were safe, but then learn that the application you initially filed was so defective that it was as if you filed nothing.
2. Publicly used the invention
Public use of an invention can create the same problems as a sale or offer for sale. If you use an invention publicly you have 12 months from the first public use to apply for a patent. If you miss this 12 month window you will not be able to obtain a patent on that which you used publicly. Of course, if you want foreign rights you need to apply first before you use the invention publicly because in many countries there is no grace period of any kind. Remember also that the better advice is simply not to publicly use your invention before you file a patent application that adequately describes your invention.