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Already disclosed your invention? It may not be too late to seek patent protection (in some countries)

In general, if you publicly disclose your invention before seeking patent protection, your options for patent protection become somewhat limited. This is because a valid patent must be novel and possess an inventive step as at its priority date (either its filing date, or the filing date of an earlier priority application). Consequently, a public disclosure of an invention before filing a patent application can render the patent application invalid.

However, in many countries a so-called grace period for patent filings is available. In these countries, it may be possible to disregard a public disclosure of an invention made prior to filing a patent application.  For example, in Australia there is a 12 month grace period, and this means that it may be possible for an inventor to publicly disclose an invention up to 12 months before filing a patent application, and this prior public disclosure may be disregarded when assessing the novelty and inventive step of the application.

A number of other countries also have a grace period for patent filings. This includes the United States, Canada and Japan (although the specifics of the grace period vary between countries). Notably, Europe and New Zealand do not offer a grace period for patent filings.

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