Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It never hurts to return to basics.  And as such, this blogger wishes to reiterate what are known as the two "bars" to patentability.  These bars being "public disclosures" and "offers for sale."

Currently, the public disclosure bar closely follows long standing practice.  Namely, if you publically disclose a potentially patentable idea, U.S. law allows you a one year grace period to file your application.  If you fail to do so, the disclosed material enters the public domain.  Meaning, your competitors are free to use the disclosed information.

Worse still, an "offer for sale" can be instantly fatal to patentability.  Normally, no one year grace period exists under such scenarios.  And offers for sale embrace a large swath of normal, entrepreneurial activities.  Obviously, trying to sell a product/service incorporating your idea is an offer for sale.  But traps for the unwary include, but are not limited to, offering online memberships for a website, click-on fees, click through fees, running banner ads on a website, etc.

So, a word to the wise: consult with a Patent Attorney before making any attempt to commercialize an idea.  And, better yet, file at least a provisional patent application before taking such actions.

We at the Villhard Patent Group would be happy to speak with you regarding these issues.  You can find more information about us at or you an call us at 512-897-0399.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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