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if I file for a patent and then publish details of the patent in a scientific journal, before the patent is officially published, does that invalidate the patent - basically because I've put details in the public domain? Is this relevant for the US patent system or any other country patent system?

Thanks

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Does that invalidate the patent?

No. Because the filing date of your patent application (and the priority date of any Convention applications in other countries) is earlier than the date you published your paper, there is no issue.

The only downside to doing this is that the public finds out about your invention earlier than they otherwise would. This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on what you want to happen with your invention (though presumably, since you want to publish your findings in a journal, you want the world to know what you've found). In any case, after 18 months your application would be published anyway, so it's not a massive difference.

In fact, there is quite a significant upside to publishing details of your invention early. As soon as your paper is published, it becomes part of the prior art. Nobody else will be able to patent anything that's disclosed in your paper. In contrast, in the 18 months before your patent application is published, there is a risk that another party will independently try to patent similar subject matter. What happens in that case is much more murky and difficult, and differs by country.

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You don't necessarily invalidate your own patent that way, but you do put yourself at risk for others claiming rights that you could have gotten.

While your patent application is pending, other people don't know what is in your patent claims. They don't even know your patent application exists.

If you publish knowledge on how to make your invention, somebody could create a different embodiment that is not covered by your claims. They could then apply for a different patent based on their work. That puts you at risk for not being able to amend your application later to cover whatever they claimed.

Other people can see your invention in the scientific journal and apply for patents in other countries. Let's consider what happens if your application is delayed and they get their patents published first. You lose the ability to stake claims to your rights in those countries. Also, when patent office clerks learn of pending patents elsewhere, or see published patents elsewhere, they may deny your application by saying there is prior art.

Best not to put yourself at risk.

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    I'm afraid to say that this answer is rather incorrect, as it seems to overlook how prior art and priority dates work. – Maca Aug 1 '16 at 4:29

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