The sale of a patented invention before the patent application filing date will preclude a patent under 35 U.S.C. § 102(a), subject to a limited one-year grace period under § 102(b).  In Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., U.S., No. 17-1229 (Jan. 22, 2019), the Supreme Court held that this prohibition against pre-filing sales forbids even non-public or “confidential” sales.  For example, in Helsinn, a patent was barred after Helsinn entered a distribution agreement for a new patented drug more than one year before the application was filed, even though the agreement was confidential and did not disclose details regarding the new drug.