Introduction to Patents
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Exposure of InventionIn the U.S. when an invention is exposed to the public, a one year clock starts ticking. If a patent application is not filed within one year of the exposure, then a patent can never be obtained. Exposure can be a sale, offer for sale, presentation at a trade show, appearance or use in public, disclosure in a magazine, newspaper, or other printed document, posted on the internet, and the like. Therefore, it is always best to keep inventions secret, at least until an application has been filed. In foreign countries the one year grace period does not exist, therefore a exposure prior to filing prevents a patent from ever being obtained.
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