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Avoiding premature disclosures

In Europe, all public disclosures, including those by the inventors, up to the day before the filing date of a patent application can be used against the novelty and/or inventive step of the invention.

This contrasts with the existence of a so called ‘grace period’ in some other jurisdictions (such as the US, Canada and Japan), during which public disclosures made by the inventors prior to the filing of a patent application are not considered in determining the patentability of the application. The duration of this grace period varies according to the jurisdiction. The absence of a ‘grace period’ in many jurisdictions demands that the strategy for patent protection of research results should be carefully considered before any public disclosure is made.
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