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The One-Year Grace Period Exemption in Turkiye

A Lifeline to Novelty Requirement for Innovators: Patents, Utility Models & Designs

The conventional "patent" system, including "utility models", is quite clear on the fact that an invention must be "novel" to be eligible for protection. This core principle dictates that it should never have been publicly available, in any form or anywhere in the world. The same also applies for protecting aesthetic creations under the design system.

What if it is disclosed anyway? As with most rules, there are exemptions that break the mold, such as the "grace period" in our subject title, which can act as a lifeline for inventors and designers who have accidentally, unknowingly, or even intentionally disclosed their inventions before filing an official application with the patent office. Turkiye is one of the few countries that applies this exemption most generously, providing the broadest scope.

This article delves into the purpose, benefits, and limitations of the one-year grace period in the said protection systems, with our focus exclusively on patents. Consequently, readers should be aware that the points discussed here for patents are equally applicable to utility models and designs as well.

Novelty Requirement under The Patent System

In order to benefit from patent protection, an invention must be novel (completely new worldwide), involve an inventive step (unexpectedly new, non-obvious), and be capable of industrial application (practical, not a fantasy).

Regarding the novelty criterion, as a rule of thumb, a patent application should be filed at the patent office before the invention has been disclosed to the public. This undesirable disclosure could occur through various means, such as blog posts, published articles, sales, offers to sell, or even casual conversations or live demonstrations. If someone can replicate your invention based on the disclosed information, you'll lose the opportunity to obtain a patent for it.

Imagine you've invented a groundbreaking gadget and can't wait to showcase it to the world. But you need to hold on, as public disclosure of your invention, whether by you or someone else, will cause it to lose its novelty criteria. In other words, the disclosure of the invention will later work against your patent application and be considered prior art –that is entirety of human technical knowledge–negatively affecting the evaluation of novelty and potentially inventive step, depending on the scope of the disclosure. Therefore, it's crucial to keep your creation under wraps, regardless of your location, until you've filed a patent application.

When disclosure becomes necessary, ensuring the confidentiality of their invention is often achieved through non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These NDAs are vital when collaborating with professionals, funding institutions, and potential partners or licensees. However, NDAs are not required when working with patent attorneys or lawyers, as professional confidentiality is already part of their professional commitment.

Grace Period Exemption: Purpose & Outcome

Now, it is time to introduce the grace period exemption: This exceptional provision is provided to protect inventors from losing their patent rights due to unintentional early disclosure. It offers a second chance for them to file a patent application and secure protection for their innovation.

On a larger scale, some inventors are eager to leverage the grace period (of one year, for instance) to start marketing their products, writing promotional blog posts or articles, and delaying patent matters and associated expenses until they've tested the market. While the grace period isn't intended to encourage this type of behavior, it can be seen as an advantage in certain countries.

In real-life scenarios, businesses and inventors frequently market their products without initial patent considerations, aiming to test the market and generate revenue. Once their product proves successful, they may seek to obtain a patent for their invention to protect themselves against potential competitors who might threaten their market position. In such cases, the one-year grace period becomes a valuable asset, allowing inventors to file a patent application and offering them a second chance to safeguard their intellectual property rights.

However, keep in mind that this exception is country-specific and not universally applicable. Thus, it's not advisable to disclose an invention before filing a patent application, as only a few countries permit it and may impose restrictions on the types of disclosures and timeframes

One-Year Grace Period Exemption in Turkiye

Thankfully, Turkiye applies one of the most generous grace period exemption, enabling inventors to file patent applications regardless of the disclosure's nature and origin, be it intentional or unintentional by the inventor, disclosed by others, or even by the patent office. Moreover, it remains unaffected whether the invention was published as an article or blog post, sold in the market, displayed, or revealed in any other unbounded manner.

Turkish Industrial Property Law no 6769 says:

Article 84 - Disclosures that do not affect the granting of a patent or utility model
(1) Although a disclosure may have the nature of affecting the granting of a patent or utility model, if it was made within twelve months preceding the application date or, if priority is claimed, within twelve months preceding the priority date, and under the following circumstances, it does not affect the granting of a patent or utility model:
a. The disclosure was made by the inventor. 
b. The disclosure was made by an authority to which a patent application was filed, and the information disclosed by this authority is included:
   1. in another application by the inventor and should not have been disclosed by the relevant authority.
   2. in an application made by a third party who has directly or indirectly obtained the information from the inventor without the inventor's knowledge or permission. 
c. The disclosure was made by a third party who has directly or indirectly obtained the information from the inventor.
(2) According to the first paragraph, anyone who has the right to apply for a patent or utility model at the date of application is considered the inventor.
(3) The consequences arising from the application of the first paragraph are not limited by time and can be claimed at any time.
(4) The party claiming the application of the first paragraph is obliged to prove that the conditions have been met or are expected to be met.

Consequently, grace period exemption is permitted smoothly if an applicant files a patent application within twelve months of publicly disclosing the invention. Such disclosures are not taken into account as prior art when assessing the novelty or inventive step of the invention in the patent prosecution stage. The grace period in Turkiye applies not only to initial filings in the country but also applications claiming priority rights from other countries when filing in Turkiye.

However, inventors should maintain thorough documentation and strong evidences of their disclosures, including the place, date, and relevant references, to defend against potential legal challenges by others who may argue that the novelty requirement has not been met.

Limitations of the Grace Period

While the grace period exemption may seem advantageous, it's essential to understand its limitations and potential issues. Many countries do not offer such a chance, or they have a more restrictive scope compared to Turkiye. Here are some warnings to consider beforehand:

  • Not Universally Recognized: The grace period is not acknowledged in all jurisdictions, meaning that inventors might still lose their patent rights in countries without this exemption if they publicly disclose their invention before filing a patent application.

  • Risk of Losing Priority: The grace period may not protect inventors from losing priority to other inventors who file patent applications for similar inventions first. In such cases, the earlier filed application may take precedence, even if the invention was publicly disclosed within the grace period.

  • Varying Grace Periods: The grace period isn't always one year; some countries have a six-month period instead.

  • Different Requirements of Disclosure Types: Some countries limit this exemption to unintentional disclosures by inventors, excluding marketing activities. Others permit disclosures during internationally recognized fairs, while some include or exclude scientific articles written by inventors, etc.

  • Potential Commercial Impact: Publicly disclosing an invention before obtaining patent protection may negatively impact the inventor's ability to negotiate licensing agreements or secure investments, as potential partners and investors may be reluctant to engage with an inventor who has already disclosed their invention without a patent in place.

  • Documentation Requirements: Once required by the Patent Office or in case of an invalidation attack by competitors, inventors must be able to prove the date of the first public disclosure to take advantage of the grace period. This may require maintaining detailed records, evidence, and documentation, which can be time-consuming and burdensome.

Consequently, grace period provisions may have limited application and varying interpretations on a global scale, or they may change over time due to legislative amendments or judicial decisions, resulting in uncertainty regarding the extent of protection provided by the grace period. Therefore, when multiple countries are in the agenda of an inventor or business, it is essential to investigate the availability and practice requirements for such exemptions beforehand, prior to embarking on complex and costly patent procedures..

Some Country Examples

Navigating the grace period in patent systems is crucial for maintaining novelty and protecting innovations. Here are non-exhaustive list of some country examples to help guide inventors:

One-year grace period: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkiye, USA, …

Six-month grace period: Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO member countries), Albania, Andorra, Russian Federation, San Marino, …

Unlawful disclosures & Display at Fairs: Disclosures in consequence of an evident abuse in relation to the applicant or his legal predecessor, or display of the invention by the applicant or his legal predecessor at an official or officially recognized international exhibition are typically recognized for grace period exemption. For instance,

  • The European Patent Organization (EPO) and many EU countries (6 months),

  • African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) (12 months),

  • African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) (6 months)

  • Patent Office of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (12 months and 6 months respectively)

  • United Kingdom (6 months) with a declaration and evidence to be filed at the Patent Office.

  • China (6 months)

It is important to note that these examples may change due to legislative amendments or varying interpretations, and the types of disclosures eligible for exemption have not been examined depth. It is essential for inventors to consult with patent professionals when seeking patent protection in multiple countries, as the grace period rules and practices may differ significantly among jurisdictions.


Novelty is the first and most fundamental requirement for anyone looking to file a patent application, which can be lost through prior disclosure. While maintaining secrecy is vital to preserving novelty and protecting patent rights, the grace period in patent systems serves as a lifeline for inventors who disclose their inventions before filing a patent application.

The one-year grace period in the Turkish patent system offers valuable protection for inventors who may disclose their inventions anywhere, anytime before filing a patent application. Nevertheless, on a global scale, understanding the purpose, benefits, and limitations of the grace period can help inventors make informed decisions about disclosing their innovations and securing patent protection.

We recommend filing your patent application before disclosing your invention, such as through publishing an article, commercializing, or initiating marketing efforts, if you are interested in international patent protection. This is because each country has different rules and practices concerning the grace period.

However, if your invention has been disclosed somehow and you still want to pursue patent opportunities, it is crucial to be aware of the specific country's practices and take advantage of any available exemptions. Consequently, businesses should consult with patent professionals to navigate the complexities of the patent system and maximize the protection of their intellectual property rights.

Ersin Dereligil
Turkish, Patent & Trademark Attorney European Patent Attorney, Chemical Engineer

The information in this update is intended to be general information about Turkish Patent Practice only and not comprehensive. It is not to be relied on as legal advice nor as an alternative to taking professional advice. All rights reserved. 
KORDINAT - Registered Patent & Trademark Attorneys -


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