Today I’m going to answer your question – What is a statutory bar under the U.S. Patent Law?

Patent Attorney Video Series – Question 7

Read the transcript.

What is a Statutory Bar?

What is a bar, or a bar date? No, we’re not talking about “go to the bar and have a drink.” We’re talking about statutory bars. Statutory bars are defined by the United States Code (USC – or the “Patent Law”). The law says you have to file a patent application within one year of a “bar event.” What is a bar event? Public disclosure, public use, sale or even an offer for sale, or a publication of an invention.

What is a “publication?” You might be thinking that I don’t publish a magazine, therefore I’m not a publisher. But if you put it out there on Facebook or YouTube. That would be considered a publication under the patent law.

If you have already published your invention, you may not have lost your rights yet. But you do need to file a patent application right away – within 1 year of the first public disclosure or publication of your invention. And you don’t want to wait until the end of that one year to contact a patent attorney.

For example, if I had publicly disclosed my invention in January 2015, I don’t want to wait until December 2015 to start thinking of filing a patent application. No, I would want to talk to a patent attorney as soon as possible because they will need time to prepare and file a patent application for you.

A patent attorney can help determine whether your invention is subject to a statutory bar.

If you don’t file a patent application in time – your invention may be considered public domain. That means anyone can use the invention and they don’t owe you thing. If you apply for a patent, the Patent Office may deny your application because you let it “sit out there” for too long.

I just want to touch on this, because this was the case under the “old” patent law – and under the “new” patent law that took effect in 2013. But what’s worse, under the new patent law it is now “first-to-file.” That means that if someone else files even one day before you, they will get the patent for the invention. So it is even more important now to file a patent application with the US Patent Office as soon as possible.

Don’t wait! If you’ve already publicly disclosed, published, sold or offered your invention for sale, contact a patent attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your particular scenario and determine whether you still have rights to patent your invention.

I hope this answers your question. Remember, it is important to work with an attorney to file a patent application with the US PTO within the time limits set by the Patent law, or you may lose the right to patent your invention.