717.3 Patents, Patent Applications, and Non-Patent Literature
The U.S. Copyright Office may register a claim to copyright in the written description for an invention or the drawings or photographs set forth in a patent or a patent application, provided that the work contains a sufficient amount of original authorship. Likewise, the Office may register a claim to copyright in articles, publications, or other non-patent literature that may be submitted with a patent application. However, the copyright in a patent, a patent application, or non-patent literature does not extend to any “idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or
discovery” that may be disclosed in these works.
Under U.S. patent law, a patent application must be filed within one year after the invention has been described in any printed publication. See 35 U.S.C. § 102 (A) (1), (B) (1). Filing a patent application or non-patent literature with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office is not considered publication within the meaning of the copyright law. The U.S. Copyright Office takes no position on whether filing an application to register the text and illustrations in a patent application or in non-patent literature would be considered a publication within the meaning of the patent law.