Would publishing an idea to an invention (on the internet) act as a prior art with a priority date in a later fild patent application? For how long such protection lasts?

For example, if someone has an idea to an invention such as a software application but still need time and money to acually reduce it to practice, so he cant yet file a full patent application. A US provisional patent application is a possible solution but also involve fees and allows only one year to file actual application which inventor thinks not sufficient. would publishing the idea behind such invention act as a first defense allowing more time for inventor at a lower cost than provisional application of patent? What disclosure options count? Recognized Websites?

Help much appreciated

1 Answer 1


The current fee for filing a U.S. provisional application is $65 if you qualify as a "micro-entity", otherwise is $130 for a small entity. If that difference ($65) seems like a lot to you I am guessing you qualify for micro entity. The criteria are (1) income in previous year less that $150,000. (2) Not have filed more that four U.S. patents ever, not including provisional applications and applications done for an employer.

The new AIA U.S. patent law does allow a publication by the inventor to be used to keep other people's work that is exactly the same or almost exactly the same from being used as prior art for a year. It is more complicated than that however and the provisional application is well worth the $65 if you later plan to file on it. It can be filed on line. If you do not want to file for rights to your idea, just keep other from being able to file, then publish it instead.

  • Thanks on response. What about time advvantage? I was thinking i gain more time if i publish before filin a provisional. By a provisional i get 1 year to file a non-provisional app and reduce invention to practice. Now if publish firt, then a year later (grace period) i file for a provisional, thats a total of 2 years before having to file a full patent application.. Any thoughts appreciated
    – Nick
    Jan 25, 2014 at 0:11
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    You have no protection against obvious extensions of your work that your publication inspires others to do. And, the "grace period", such as it is will only help in the U.S. The moment you publish (without filing first) you are bared from ever filing in most every country but the U.S.
    – George White
    Jan 25, 2014 at 0:14
  • George -- are you sure about OBVIOUS extensions? It's my understanding that once the patent issues (assuming it issues ...) any obvious extensions based on what the patent teaches would be covered by the now-granted patent. Apr 25, 2014 at 2:57
  • What is covered by a patent is set by its claim wording. Some wording can be more future-proof and other claim wording be interpreted more narrowly. Broad claims might very well encompass variations not thought of by the original inventor. What I was referring to in my comment was the case of inventor X publishing before filing. Under the uspto veiw of the AIA, inventor Y can be inspired by reading the publication and invent and file on a variation and then own that variation. Of course, if it is obvious in light of X's publication then no one could get a patent specifically to the variation.
    – George White
    Apr 25, 2014 at 3:50
  • @GeorgeWhite, You stated that we should just publish it if we don't want anyone including ourselves to have the rights. But how does one verify the publication date?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 5, 2014 at 4:33

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