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What is the one-year bar?

Introducing a new invention to the public can be a very exciting moment for an inventor. It can also be a very impactful moment from a legal perspective. This is particularly the case if the inventor is thinking about pursuing a patent for the invention. A public disclosure of an invention starts the clock on a major deadline when it comes to patents.

This is due to a patent rule here in the U.S. known as the one-year bar. This rule makes it so, once an inventor makes a public disclosure of their invention, they have one year to submit a patent application for the invention.

What happens once this deadline passes? If an inventor doesn’t apply for a patent for an invention within a year of publicly disclosing it, the core invention loses patent eligibility. While the inventor could still possibly patent future new features they add to the invention, the chance to patent the core invention is lost.

Many things can impact what deadlines are present for an inventor when it comes to patents. As the one-year-bar underscores, this includes what actions the inventor takes, and when they took them. Understanding what particular patent-related deadlines they would have to meet to pursue their patent-related goals can be critical for an inventor. Having incorrect or incomplete information on this front could lead to a person inadvertently missing such a deadline and thus facing the consequences and missed opportunities that can come with it.

Deadlines are one of the many important patent topics inventors can go to skilled patents lawyers for guidance on.

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