Here are “three traps” that snare companies and prevent them from getting patents:
- Once you disclose a your invention publicly (i.e. not confidentially), or offer something for sale that uses you invention, you have one year to file a U.S. patent application, or you loose the opportunity. Hidden use counts (for example, your “secret sauce” is in software or hidden within your product).
- Once you disclose your invention publicly, you immediately loose the right to file a patent in most foreign countries (Canada being an exception) unless you first file your U.S. patent application or PCT application.
- Even if you disclosed an invention in a patent application, once that inventive concept is known in the public for more than a year, the inventive concept can be used against you in future patent applications that depend on information not found in the original patent application.