Impact of America Invents Act on U.S. Patent Law

Last Friday the President signed the “America Invents Act” into law. This Act represents the most wide-ranging revision of the U.S. Patent Laws in more than 50 years. Many of the provisions of the law relate to the arcana of practice before the USPTO, and will be of primary interest to patent practitioners. However, there are many changes to the patent laws that will be of interest to any business that deals with patents on a regular basis, either as patentee, licensee, or possible infringer.

The changes to the law can be divided into three categories, based on their effective date. Many of the provisions of the new law take effect immediately; other provisions take effect one year after enactment, while still others are not effective until 18 months after enactment. The provisions of the law that take effect a year or more from enactment include the much-discussed “first-inventor-to-file” and post-grant opposition proceedings, among others. Those provisions will be the subject of future alert(s).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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