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What is an Actual Filing Date?

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a patent's filing date is the actual date when the patent application was filed. This specific date plays a significant role in intellectual property law, since a patent filing date determines which application has priority when two people apply for a patent for a similar invention. Patent rights typically belong to the person who filed for the patent first and last for 20 years from the filing date.

Actual Filing Date vs Effective Filing Date

It is important to keep in mind that the date you filed for the patent may not necessarily be considered the actual filing date. In other words, there are two main types of filing dates: the actual filing date and the effective filing date, also known as the priority date. The actual filing date is simply the date when you filed your patent application. On the other hand, the effective filing date is considered the date when the novelty of your creation or invention was established. Oftentimes, the priority date is earlier than the actual filing date.

For instance, before you officially file a non-provisional patent application, you may decide to apply for a provisional patent to gain various limited rights to your intellectual property. Provisional patents are temporary and their benefits last for only 12 months. In order to maintain these protections long-term, you will need to file for a non-provisional patent application before the 12 month term ends. In these cases, the 20-year lifespan of the patent begins when you first filed the provisional patent, so you will gain priority to the patent rights over other creators from that day forward.

There are several other circumstances in which you can claim an earlier priority date of a patent application. A continuation application, for example, gives you the option of claiming an earlier priority date. So, you can claim the priority date on a foreign application in cases where a domestic application for the same invention is filed after applying for a patent application internationally.

Actual Filing Date Timing

Keeping an eye on the actual filing date is crucial if you intend to file for a patent or currently own the rights to a patent. Patents for intellectual property require precise timing, since the clock begins ticking 20 years from the actual filing date. Moreover, you will have exactly one year to file your patent application after you have publicly disclosed an invention. The one-year period for filing a patent application typically cannot be extended under any circumstances. Therefore, it should be noted that the one-year anniversary of the disclosure of your invention is the last date for filing a patent. 

Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is imperative that you submit your patent application within one year of your invention's disclosure if you want to maintain your intellectual property rights. As there are so many different dates and times involved and it can be difficult to distinguish between the actual filing date and the effective filing date, it is highly recommended to seek professional legal advice in this matter. Find a skilled intellectual property attorney ASAP with Attorney At Law.

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