Publication of a Patent
Details (including the invention title) of your application will be published (laid open to public inspection) and advertised in the Patents Office Official Journal 18 months after the application's filing date or earliest priority date (if there is one), unless it has been finally refused or withdrawn before the termination of the technical preparations for publication.
When a patent application is published certain documents relating to the application are open to public inspection. Details of the application including a description of the invention, illustrative drawings and claims are available to view and download from the Office’s website, and hard copies are made available for purchase. The front page of the published document is also published and includes bibliographic details like the applicant’s name, the inventor’s name and the date the application was filed. This means that these names and addresses will also appear in our records and in our online Patents Journal, both of which are available to the public on our website and can be permanently searched using most standard search engines. In addition, a copy of the search report and written opinion together is published and open to public inspection.
To stop your invention entering the public domain you must apply to withdraw your application before it is published.
Publication is important for several reasons:
- It sets the date after which anyone using your invention without permission is unlawfully infringing your patent. Once you have a granted patent, you can take legal action for any infringements that occur on and after the publication date but not for the period between filing and the publication date.
- The contents of the patent application are no longer confidential. Your invention becomes public knowledge and can assist in advancing industry and technology.
- Publication can be used for defensive purposes, e.g. to prevent others from gaining patent protection for your invention.
However, publication of a patent application is not a guarantee that the patent application is valid or will be accepted.