When Does an Application Publish?
Unless a patent application is requested to be kept confidential, at 18 months from the priority date of the patent application, it “publishes” and becomes available for public viewing. If the application is being filed foreign, the application and the negotiations with the Patent Office relating to the application will be required to be publicly accessible.
Can I Enforce My Published Patent Application?
The publication of the application looks like a patent, including the claims pending at the time of publication. However, the published application is not an enforceable document and to become enforceable, the patent application needs to finish examination and have the patent issue fees paid.
Why Should I Consider Publishing My Patent Application?
There are advantages and disadvantages to publishing an application. The downside of publication is that your competition can learn the details of your application and adapt their competing products before your patent issues. However, some companies choose to publish their pending applications so that their competitors see what patent protection is coming so that the competition will stay clear. Other companies choose to publish their patent applications as an early marketing opportunity to let their customers and competition see the new technology and that there will be protection for the innovations. There are also limited advantages to publishing a patent application if the claims of the patent application do not change substantially from the time it publishes until it is granted as a patent.
Whether you choose to publish your applications or not, feel free to contact a qualified professional at Booth Udall Fuller, PLLC with any questions you may have about published patent applications, or any of your intellectual property protection or strategy needs.