A Primer on Intellectual Property 165 Patents must be filed in every country individually. There are two territorial offices--the European Patent Office and the OAPI in Africa--that will accept and review the validity of one application for registration in its member countries. If the application is accepted, the patent must still be formally registered in every individual country. There are three main differences between the U.S. and the rest of the world, as far as patents are concerned: · First to file, not first to invent. Most foreign countries award patents to the first party to file, not the party who can prove they were the first to invent. · First sale. Unlike the United States, where you must file within one year of the first sale, public use, or printed description of the invention, a patent elsewhere must be filed prior to any public disclosure or use. However, Paris Convention signatory countries give you 12 months from the date of your U.S. filing to apply. · Publication of Application. In the United States, an applicant may request that its application not be published until the patent is actually issued. Most foreign countries will publish the ap- plication around 18 months after the U.S. filing date. Example: Developer A files in the U.S. on January 6, 2003. He then files in Country B on December 5, 2003. Country B will publish the application around June 6, 2004. This can compromise the trade secret status of any material in the application. Summary Developers have four tools to help them protect their intellectual property: trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Trade secret protection is valuable for developers because it enables them to protect any software