Failure to file the patent application in timely manner

As previously discussed, an inventor can forfeit patent rights if he or she fails to file a patent application for an invention within one year of offering it to sale to another. Additionally, if an inventor publicly uses the invention or offers the invention to sale to third parties, the inventor has one year from the date of either activity to file a patent application for the invention. Because the United States patent system is a first-to-invent system as opposed to a first-to-file system, as in most nations, it is very important that inventors file patent applications for their inventions in a timely manner.

For example, let’s say that an individual developed a power-efficient sensor that detects whether individuals are in a room. If the sensor detects at least one individual in a room, it sends a signal to the light switch to turn on. On the contrary, if the sensor does not detect an individual in the room, it sends a different signal to the light switch to turn off.

After developing and testing the invention, if the he installs his sensor in various buildings around the city, these actions could be considered public use of the invention. Accordingly, the inventor would have one year from the date of his first public use to file a patent application.