If a person or company only has an interest in patent protection for the United States and Canada, there is a 1-year grace period for ﬁling a patent application. If there is any interest in the possibility of eventually pursuing patent protection in foreign countries, there is no grace period, and an application must be ﬁled with the United States Patent and Trademark Ofﬁce before there is any public disclosure or commercialization of the invention.
Notwithstanding this, Applicants are cautioned against reliance upon the grace period under the relatively new First-to-File system in the United States, which does not provide Applicants with the ability to prove an earlier date of invention from its date of filing a patent application. Therefore, for example, if a different inventor files a patent application on a similar invention after you invented something but before your patent application filing date, the only means to remove the previously filed application from consideration by the Examiner is to prove that the different inventor had access to and misappropriated your invention. In view of the First-to-File system, inventors are encouraged to file patent applications expediently.