Are folks who publish design details, implementing an idea, putting that idea's implementation into the public domain?

Put another way... have these publishers, whether they wanted to or not:

  • created a "defensive publication" of the idea,
  • put this idea's implementation into the public domain?

1 Answer 1


Defensive Publication in short means information is published as such without any peer review or editing by editorial board. So therefore information or data will be as intended by author.

In general people goes for defensive publication because of following reasons:-

  1. Data, figures, details, observations, interpretations etc will not get altered by second person or publisher.
  2. Publication will be available but in protected mode i.e. paid and sometimes information of viewer will be shared by author (doubtful but possible).
  3. Cost less than file and procecute patent application. dont create junk or paper IPR.
  4. After filing of patent, defensive publication can be made to protect onself so that no one else will get patent on same information. (overlapping other country applications).
  5. In case of minor improvements inventive step cannot be satisfied and its doubtful that patent will get a grant, therefore in such scenario people goes for these publication to make information as prior art.

I have seen people opt for above option 4. therefore a person has to keep in mind that overlapping active patent can be present.

Now as per query:-

No defensive publication doesnot always mean disclosure is of public use without any infringement.

  • Do patentless idea implementations published on a web site enter the public domain?
    – JSH
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 17:00
  • Like i said defensive publication doesnot always mean that its not patented. There are many other IP ways to protect same info. For example code of software defensive published but it was also copyrighted. A person used a trade mark related brochure defensively published but it was trademarked.
    – Pushpak
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 17:07
  • Let me try this... "Is Prior-Art in the public domain?"
    – JSH
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 21:09
  • Yes its in public domain and information is accessible but not always free to use. Prior art means published before priority date but it doesnot mean free to use. For example granted patent can be prior art but its not for free use till its expiry
    – Pushpak
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 2:52
  • 1
    Is prior-art in the public domain? No, not necessarily. Publicly accessible, yes. In the "public domain" means that the intellectual property rights have expired, been forfeited, or are inapplicable.
    – JDMc
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 17:43

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