Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Patents is a question and answer site for people interested in improving and participating in the patent system. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Let's say I made software initially publicly available, but some time in the future I decided I wish to patent it. Could I? Is there any time limit on how long after making software publicly available that I have to patent it?

share|improve this question
1  
Is this for the US or another country? Also in the US software alone is not patentable based on 35 USC 101 –  Plepleus Sep 21 '12 at 21:48
1  
@Plepleus The US –  ahenderson Sep 25 '12 at 13:55
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In the United States, for any invention you have 1 year to file:

35 U.S.C. 102 Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent. A person shall be entitled to a patent unless —

(b) the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States

share|improve this answer
3  
Most other countries give no grace period. I.e., the patent must be filed before making the product publicly available. –  Dennis Crouch Sep 22 '12 at 3:55
1  
And some countries give 12 months grace period and some gives 6 months. –  Mikk Putk Sep 22 '12 at 16:40
add comment

Note that as of March 2013 (for apps filed after then) these rules change in the US; there is still a one-year grace-period -- but only as to your own disclosures. If someone else publishes the concept (or something that would make your invention obvious) before you file then you are (probably) out of luck.

share|improve this answer
    
Do you have a reference/source? –  Pacerier Jun 5 at 3:03
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.