I recently published a paper in which I proposed a new transmission design relevant to wireless communication (skipping the details here).

Now I am thinking to file a patent but I am not sure if the work already published can be patented? Can the community kindly suggest me if I can patent this work either fully or part of it?

  • 2
    Once it's published usually you can no longer patent it. It might be possible that there are some novel legal changes in the US (IANAL), but the above is the default. Publishable papers are often held back because the authors want to patent the results first. Oct 27, 2019 at 7:05
  • @CaptainEmacs, I think that is now false (in the US) and that you have a window of time to file a patent after publication.
    – Buffy
    Oct 27, 2019 at 10:27
  • Patent law varies widely around the world. The proper answer can only come from a patent attorney in your jurisdiction. If you are at a university, they probably have an office to advise you and even file patents. But don't delay. Time can matter greatly.
    – Buffy
    Oct 27, 2019 at 10:30
  • @Buffy Thanks for the update. I cautioned in my comment that I might have overlooked a legal change. In any case, this is lawyer domain. Oct 27, 2019 at 15:35
  • I can just offer my experience. I am coauthor of several papers in which a very very big company was involved by, eg, paying the salary for one of us authors and in the frame of target pointed projects. They were managing to patent (worldwide) essentially all after I publish my standard articles. It seemed to me matter of the resources and skills in writing patents. I don't understand how it works :)
    – Alchimista
    Oct 28, 2019 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


There are caveats to the grace period but the U.S. you have a one year grace period to file. 35 U.S.C. 102 Conditions for patentability; novelty.

(a) NOVELTY; PRIOR ART.—A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—
    (1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or
    (2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.
    (1) DISCLOSURES MADE 1 YEAR OR LESS BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE FILING DATE OF THE CLAIMED INVENTION.—A disclosure made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art to the claimed invention under subsection (a)(1) if—
        (A) the disclosure was made by the inventor or joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or 

For most all of the rest of the world, the day something is published it is no longer patentable, at least to the extent of what was disclosed. Nor is anything patentable that is obvious from what was published.


Consult your university’s legal team.

Most universities will have lawyers on staff, and often they’ll be pretty experienced in patent law. This seems like the sort of question that you should ask them, since they’ll be the ones who will know the full legalities for your location, and they’ll likely be able to assist you with the patent application.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .