I have noticed that start-up companies that filed patent applications tend to not to publish them before the patent is granted. This can have business strategy motivations and it would be off topic to discuss about them here.

Just from a patent point of view is there any motivation to not to publish till the patent is granted? (I mean: publishing after patent application filing but before patent grant can in any way interfere with getting the grant or defending it in the future?)

3 Answers 3


As others have mentioned, publication happens pretty much by itself. There are some critical features to understand. You really need to have sufficient resources to be able to push through from provisional/ application all the way to filing as soon as possible. You cannot add to the application when making your claims, so many inventors tend to include all possible variants in the original application description, however if your claims are reduced during examination, then you have published all this extra information, that you could have possibly used in a latter invention. Ideally you want your patent examined and granted before the application gets published, overwise your competitors will know what you are doing and while you are dithering about, will be actively generating spinoffs based on your published ideas, or worse patenting enabling technology that your invention needs. Imagine inventing a 3d printer, but neglecting to patent the means to manufacture the filament the machine needs as a necessary feedstock. You only sell a machine once, but you sell consumables forever. Imagine inventing shoes, and competitors making twice your margin selling socks. Or a competitor patenting non-slip soles for your shiny leather shoes.


If you plan to file outside the U.S. you do not have a choice, the U.S. will publish 18 months after earliest claimed priority date. If you do not plan to file outside the U.S. you can check a box at the time of filing for "non-publication request". This used to add $300 to the filing fee but that fee went away. Publishing has some benefits, it can give you rights in some cases to go back (once you have an issued patent) and retroactively get royalties starting from the publication date. The negative it lets people know what you are doing earlier and the publication of your application can be used as prior art against some other filing you might do in the future if it is a similar invention.


Th e publication of a patent is a part of the processes and not something you elect to do. Generally you file for the patent and as part of the examination and grant process it will automatically be published. The publication is done by the USPTO and not by you -- you should not publish your own patents.

The publication has no effect on whether the patent is granted or not, and it does not affect the patent in any way as the patent is valid from the time it was filed and not from the time is was granted (assuming that it will be granted).

  • Sorry my question wasn't maybe clear. I was referrring to publish the subject of a patent application as a scientific paper and not to the publishing made by USPTO.
    – user8305
    Jul 27, 2014 at 7:39
  • Your idea may not be patentable if it is already public information prior to the filing of the patent. Publishing a paper would make it public information. There is in some cases an ability to file within one year, but you will need to talk to a patent lawyer to know if that is applicable in your case. In any case a patent is granted to who file first, so you may find that somebody else could patent an idea based on your paper as long as they file before you do.
    – Soren
    Jul 27, 2014 at 17:45
  • Scientific papers generally take a year to be published. So ideally you should release the text for this paper after filing (to avoid inadvertent leakage), then the paper will appaer about the same time as the grant. Having a peer reviewed paper out there will improve the value of the patent, but on the downside you generally need to publish sufficient information for others to replicate/validate your result. On the other hand patent "disclosure" is generally limited to the barest minimum possible.
    – BobT
    Dec 30, 2014 at 8:56
  • Also be aware if the end use of your product is in an academic area, then publishing in scientific journals is practically giving the content away, as researchers can lawfully use the material for their own research. Patents only stop them selling products, not making and using them.
    – BobT
    Dec 30, 2014 at 9:02

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