Best practice for any invention is to file first at the patent office before you make any disclosure, including public disclosures which could potentially defeat any design patent application that you hope to file. Filing first, reduces the potential obstacles you can face during examination at the USPTO, and thereby is a more inexpensive course of action over the long run.
That being stated, if you do make a public disclosure, or you have made a public disclosure, you have one year from that disclosure to make a design patent application filing in the U.S. This one year period is sometimes referred to as the “grace period” and it is measured from the disclosure date to the effective filing date of the design patent application. i.e., disclosures made during that grace period will not be considered prior art.
If you have any questions about design patent applications or office actions with prior art issues, please feel free to contact us.
If you are interested in filing a design patent application, please start with our design patent application filing form. Please feel free to check the ‘pay later’ button before discussing your application with an attorney.