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In the USA, if you submit a novel iPad app to Apple for inclusion on App Store, does that count as a public disclosure? i.e. Does the clock start ticking (for the one-year grace period during which you can still apply for a patent) when your app is submitted to Apple, or only when it appears on the public-facing App Store?

(I guess it may depend on the wording of the agreement between Apple and the developer submitting an app. Perhaps someone here has knowledge about that?)

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Three things can start the clock, the public knowing about it, it being sold and it being "published or patented". I'm not sure of the answer but all three conditions should be considered. –  George White Mar 21 at 0:43

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think it is best to take a conservative approach. To be conservative, any unconstrained use/disclosure should be considered a public use/disclosure.

Unless there is an obligation on the part of Apple to maintain confidentiality in relation to app submissions, I would recommend that you treat the submission as a public disclosure and that you file your patent application within one year of that date.

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