I may file a patent in the future that relates to a user interface on smartphones. In the meant time, I am building the algorithm stored in a GitHub repository. My question is:

  1. Can I use this GitHub page history to prove I am the original inventor? I.e. if someone else tries to file a patent before me but is shown to have invented it at a later date than when I started, will the GitHub page be enough to grant the patent to me?

  2. I have trouble understanding the grace period. If I publish an art and have not filed for a patent within the year, does that mean anyone else can file the patent, even though the art verifies that I am the original inventor?

  3. What constitutes an art being "published"? If I create a private GitHub page, and one year later change it to public, is the date of publication the date I created the GitHub page, or the date that I set it to public?

1 Answer 1


I did a little digging and found this post:

Register prior art, but not wanting a patent

In case it might help anyone else, I'll answer my own questions for archival reasons. If I got anything wrong, any help correcting would be much appreciated.

  1. Yes, GitHub can be used as a published prior art.
  2. If I wrote the code on GitHub, and I was the first that invented it, no one else but me can file the patent. However, I only have 1 year from the publish date to file that patent. After that year passes, no one can file the patent (I assume its under public domain?)
  3. From the URL I linked, it seems like the GitHub page must be publicly available for it to be considered a published prior art. I'm not sure on the specifics if the repository was initially private, then set to public, then set to private again some time later, then public again. I assume the publish date of the prior art is on the first time it was set to public (so the 1 year grace period would start ticking on that time).
  • Not to resuscitate an old thread, but it seems doubtful that the repository would be considered prior art if it was not linked to or otherwise searchable based on its subject matter. However, this may be incorrect.
    – user132162
    Aug 13, 2017 at 16:14

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