Inventor Unenlightened creates the ultimate in widget technology. She sells a prototype of this revolutionary device to finance its IP protection. This gadget is sure to net her company millions of dollars. Or it would have, if Inventor had not just lost all patent rights resulting from ignorance of the new patent law. The America Invents Act can also lead to the loss of your patent rights.
Sale of an invention before filing a patent application will generally bar the right to obtain a patent. Publication or other disclosure will affect rights in the United States and it will bar the right to obtain a patent in other countries.
From 1839 until March 2013, an inventor in the United States could sell or disclose an invention and have a grace period during which the inventor could still file for a patent application. This grace period is largely eliminated under the new patent law.
There are confusing exceptions to the new rules. The courts will take several years to interpret and unify their consistent application. It is a good idea to talk to your IP attorney about filing a patent application, whether provisional or non-provisional, prior to sale or disclosure of an invention.
Consult your IP attorney to protect your work before losing out like Inventor Unenlightened.