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One-Year Rule

A rule that terminated in 2013 that required a patent application to be filed within one year of: 1) any public use of the invention by the inventor, 2) a sale of the invention, 3) an offer to sell the invention, or 4) any description of the invention by the inventor in a published document. Failure to file a patent application within this one-year period resulted in the invention's passing into the public domain, where it was no longer eligible for a patent. The application of the one-year rule to sales was sometimes referred to as the on-sale bar. The one-year rules cited above (with some exceptions), terminated in 2013 when the U.S. switched to a first-to-file system. After that date, anything published or sold prior to filing of the application will be considered prior art unless it qualifies under a very limited one-year grace period for certain disclosures or sales by the inventor.