The University will not interfere with a professor's right to publish. However, there are three terms that research faculty need to be familiar with in order to understand how patent protection is impacted by publications.
A publication is enabling if someone skilled in the art, who reads the publication, could essentially duplicate or "practice" the invention merely from the information contained in the publication or presentation.
A bar date is the date by which a U.S. patent application must be filed or patent protection will be lost. It is set one year from the first public disclosure of the invention. The technology could be released in many ways including via the Internet, mail, or if the material is available in a library. Here is a list of some of the more common ways that a public disclosure is made.
- Presentations (discussions, meetings, conferences)
- Poster Presentations
- Discussions with Companies
- Information on the Internet
- Grant Reports, in some instances
Publication affects patentability by limiting the amount of coverage that is available on a given technology. An inventor starts out with worldwide coverage, as long as there is no public disclosure. However, once the technology has been publicly disclosed, only U.S. protection is available. If a U.S. patent application is not filed within one year of the public disclosure, then no patent protection is available.
Information existing anywhere in the world that is closely related to your technology, prior to the conception of your invention, is considered prior art. In some instances the prior art may even be your own work. This information could be contained in any of the items listed above or it may be included in an issued patent.
For more information, contact KSURF and request a copy of the AUTM Educational Series Booklet No. 2 entitled "Prior Art: Silent Time Bombs That Can Blow Away Your Licensing Deals."