Public disclosures (e.g., disclosures to persons not under an obligation to keep an invention secret) before filing a first patent application covering the invention may eliminate any rights to patent protection in many jurisdictions around the world.
Some countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and a handful of other countries, have a 12-month grace period whereby patent protection may still be obtained depending upon the circumstances surrounding the disclosure. To claim the benefit of the grace period in Australia, a complete application must be filed within one year of the public disclosure. In the U.S., the 12-month grace period is measured from the filing date of the earliest patent application that fully supports the claims of the application. However, any party taking definite steps to copy the invention during the grace period may have intervening rights and be protected against any infringement proceedings.