BizTerm Definition
one-year rule
Full Definition

The rule that requires a patent application on an invention to be filed within one year of the following: any public use of the invention by the inventor, a sale of the invention, an offer to sell the invention, or any description of the invention by the inventor in a published document. Failure to file a patent application within this one-year period results in the invention passing into the public domain, where it is no longer eligible for a patent. For example, Steve invents a tennis racket with an electronic score keeper embedded in the handle. He calls it The Geezer Racket (for people who can't remember the score). Steve describes the tennis racket in his book on patent law and, more than a year after the book is published, he files for a patent. The application is rejected because Steve failed to act within one year of the publication date.

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