Answered on Quora: “With a new invention can I make it public, start selling it, once I have submitted my patent application or must I wait until the patent is actually issued?”

A, to the apparent main Q… there are some asterisks:

No, you do not have to wait until a patent application is issued to practice an invention.

Issuance of a patent is the date on which you can begin seeking injunctions and damages against others for infringements of your invention dating back to… when you can prove the infringements occurred. The patent is not permission to make or use something that want to make or sell.

However, if this is about how to make sure you do not lose your rights to seek patent protection, so that you can seek injunctions and damages later, then it is a question of timing, rather than permission.

If you do plan to attempt patent protection in the US, then you should file as soon as possible, but in no case should you wait more than 1 year. Waiting longer than 1 year following a public disclosure or use for commercial benefit

If you want to be able to attempt patent protection in Europe, then you MUST file before you do anything that teaches the public how to do it. This is a list of the jurisdictions that provide a 1 year grace period to disclose to the public before filing a patent application:

Grace Periods for Disclosure of an Invention before Applying for a Patent – Mewburn Ellis

Only 16 jurisdictions. It DOES include the US.

Eurasia (Eurasian Patent Organization) and Russia only give 6 months.

However, if you want to pursue protection in Europe, you have to file before any public disclosure, and before any sales. The only exceptions are 1 year in Estonia and Turkey and 6 months in Albania and San Marino.

Assuming that you meant the US, then you start a clock the second you publicly disclose, offer for sale, effectively publicly use the invention in a non experimental capacity. You have 1 year from that date to file a patent application, or you will not be able to get a patent later.

There is the possibility that you are presuming that filing a patent makes it safe to make something, though. That is not the case. It is quite possible that something you would like to make or sell is already covered by an existing patent held by someone else. Attempting to obtain a patent or even being awarded a patent does not guarantee protection, because existing patents protect their own definition, which can be broad, while later patents may exclude existing patent holders from practicing sub-inventions without providing novelty that is exclusive of the the scope of the existing patents.

For example: Let’s say you come up with a better way to bottle a patented substance, but JUST that substance. You cannot go into business making that substance or even bottling that substance for commercial benefit, because that substance is itself under patent protection, and that right is held by someone else. However, your patent would be useful to prevent the patentholder on the substance from being able to bottle their substance in the way that you invented, unless they licensed it to you.

So… in that case, if either of you were to bottle the substance, you are both infringing one another’s exclusive rights to one another’s distinct inventions. Someone would have to license to the other party in order for either of you to sell the substance (theirs) in the way that you bottled it (yours).

In order to avoid this situation, you should perform a search, or better, obtain a “freedom-to-operate” or “clearance” opinion from a patent attorney.

If you want to ask followup questions, I would be happy to answer more here. If you would like learn more on your own, or find information to contact me, if you would like to speak privately, you can visit or