Are Patent Applications Disclosed to the Public?
Patents are granted by patent offices in exchange for a full disclosure of the invention which is thereafter published thus becoming available to the general public. Publication, however, may take place at different stages of the procedure. In some countries, the patent document with the patent claims and the description of the invention is only published at the time of grant. In other countries, patent applications are published generally 18 months after the filing date or, where priority has been claimed, the priority date (for more detail on your countrys procedure for patent application, check your countrys IP offices website).