What is a defensive publication?

Defensive publications, which are endorsed by the USPTO as an IP rights management tool, are documents that provide descriptions and artwork of a product, device or method so that it enters the public domain and becomes prior art. This powerful preemptive disclosure prevents other parties from obtaining a patent on the product, device or method. It enables the original inventor to ensure that they have access to their invention by preventing others from later making patent claims on it. It also means that they do not have to shoulder the cost of patent applications.

The Defensive Publications program, a component of Linux Defenders, enables non-attorneys to use a set of Web-based forms to generate defensive publications. It relies on substantial participation from the open source community as it relates to disclosures. Defensive publication drafts will be reviewed and edited as needed and at no charge by OIN’s attorneys. The completed defensive publication will be added by OIN to the IP.com database, which is in turn used by IP attorneys and the patent and trademark office to search for prior art when examining patent applications.


Learn more about defensive publications with our examples and frequently asked questions

List of Defensive publications

Defensive publications are important because they ensure that developers have freedom to operate by helping limit poor quality patents. Please feel free to take a look at some defensive publications that have been published by and in support of the Linux and OSS communities.

Need some help in putting pen to paper?

Use our defensive publication starter guide.

What we are trying to do?

We are attempting to mobilize the creativity and innovative capacities of the Linux and broader open source community to codify the universe of preexisting inventions in defensive publications that upon publication in the IP.COM database will immediately serve as effective prior art that prevents anyone from having a patent issued that claims inventions that have already been document in a defensive publication. In addition to creating a vehicle to utilize this highly effective form of IP rights management for known inventions, it is hoped that the community will use defensive publications as a means of codifying future inventions should the inventors prefer not to make their invention the subject of a patent disclosure and application.