In a world of unlimited resources and intellectual property (IP) legal department budgets, all invention disclosures would lead to patent application filings. But this was not the world we lived in prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic has only further constrained resources for many companies. Separating the wheat from the chaff has always been a prudent part of invention harvesting. Certain disclosures simply do not merit the filing of a new patent application. Other disclosures do merit a filing, and the question then becomes how robust of a filing to draft and how widely and aggressively to prosecute it over time. When a decision is made not to file an application, does the inquiry end there? For most companies it does. But others will consider preparing what is known as a “defensive publication” covering the disclosure.

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