Deadline for Filing a Patent Application

     The rules regarding when a United States patent application must be filed were changed in 2013. The rule until March 16, 2013 was that a U.S. patent application had to be filed within one year of the date the invention was first publicly disclosed or offered for sale. If the patent application was not filed before the expiration of this one-year period, the patent rights were dedicated to the public.
     The new law requires that any invention that was publicly disclosed or offered for sale before the law became effective on March 16, 2013, must have a patent application filed by March 15, 2013 in order to be valid.
     The rule after March 16, 2013 is that a U.S. patent application must be filed before any public disclosure or offer for sale of the invention. However, the new law has some exceptions. The new law indicates that certain qualifying public disclosures before a patent application is filed will not bar receiving a valid patent, provided that a patent application is filed within one year of the public disclosure. These exceptions are narrow according to the U.S. Patent Office.
     With those changes in the law, it will remain important for inventors to carefully control public disclosures and offers for sale or other commercial activities before filing a patent application to avoid any loss of the opportunity to obtain a patent.