Office of
Research Services

Public Disclosure

Publish or patent? You can do both, but be sure to know when you can publish, so you can protect your opportunity to file a patent.

What constitutes a public disclosure?

Seeking a patent does not preclude publication of research results, and, in most cases, does not delay publishing. To retain the potential for foreign patents, a U.S. patent application must be filed before any description of the invention is publicly disclosed.

The following are examples of public disclosure and when they are considered “published”:

  • Publications in journals, books, etc.

    The day the journal is mailed out from the printer.
  • Abstracts for meetings

    The day the book of abstracts is mailed from the printer.
  • Handouts given out during a poster presentation or oral presentation

    The day they are handed out.
  • Dissertations and Theses

    The day they are placed on the library shelves.
  • Publications on the Internet

    The day they are sent out/posted.
  • Posters and oral presentations at meetings, including seminars that are open to the public

    The day presented.
  • Progress reports to industry sponsors

    (When not covered by a confidentiality agreement)
  • Federally funded grant abstracts

    (When grants are funded, U.S. governement agencies may post all or parts of the title and abstract of the proposal on the Internet. Keep key concpets for a patent out of the title and abstract of all proposals)

What is not a public disclosure?

The following are not public disclosures:

  • Presentations at departmental meetings (if not open to the public)
  • Presentations at Interdepartmental meetings (if not open to the public)
  • Grant proposals (but mark sections that are confidential)