Q: I designed and started selling a product. Others are now copying and selling it too. Is it too late to file a patent?
Assuming that you are seeking a US patent, then the rule is in 35 USC 102 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/35/102 which was updated in March of 2013.
Under the current rules, any offer for sale (or sale) of your invention immediately ended your option to seek a US patent. A sale under a NDA would ruin your US options but not necessarily options in other countries.
If you make updates, you may be able to seek patent protection for the updates (especially design patents on the appearance) but your own product that you are selling now will be the closest prior art so it will be difficult.
Kevin E Flynn
Julie Fowler agrees with this answer
1 user found this answer helpful
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.