March 15 and March 18 - Two Important Dates to Make a Note Of


On March 16, 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is changing from a First-to-Invent system to a First-Inventor-to-File system under the America Invents Act for all patent applications that have a priority date of or after that date.  One major change is the scope of what is considered to be prior art.  For example, sales and public uses which occur in the U.S. are currently considered prior art. As of March 16, 2013, sales and public uses anywhere in the world can act as prior art.

Another change under the AIA is the increased authority the  USPTO will have  to set and change the fees it charges in order to cover its expected costs of providing services. These fees published as Patent Fees Final Rule (78 Fed. Reg. 4212, January 18, 2013) will take effect on March 19, 2013.

Highlighted Fee changes:

Fee Description
Current Fee
March 16, 2013
Application Filing Fees – increase
Independent Claims in Excess of 3
Track I – reduction
Request for Prioritized examination or Track I
Request for Continued Examination (RCE) – increase
Second and Subsequent RCE
Ex Parte Reexamination – reduction
Ex Parte Reexamination
Maintenance Fees – increase
Due at 3.5 years
Due at 7.5 years

A patent application filed before March 16, 2013 can be used as a parent application/priority application for filing continuation applications after March 16, 2013. The continuation application(s) will be examined under the "first-to-invent" and pre-AIA rules.  Therefore, you may wish to file any applications by March 15, 2013.

The AIA rule changes can be confusing and we want to provide you information to help guide you through the numerous new rules.  If you have any questions about any of these changes, please contact us at your convenience.

Atlanta, Georgia
Carl M. Davis 678.406.8703
Dorian B. Kennedy 678.406.8705
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Warner Joseph Delaune 225.381.7032
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Micheline Kelly Johnson 423.209.4103
Knoxville, Tennessee
Peter L. Brewer 865.971.5102
Thomas A. Hodge 678.406.8706
Memphis, Tennessee
Julie R. Baldridge 901.577.8132
Nashville, Tennessee
W. Edward Ramage 615.726.5771
Washington, D.C.
Richard E. L. Henderson, Ph.D. 202.508.3400
D. Christopher Holly, Ph.D. 202.508.3451
Shazi Jiang, M.D. 202.508.3420
Bryan W. Jones 202.508.3428
Susan E. McBee 202.508.3450
Chester G. Moore, Ph.D. 202.654.4627
David L. Vanik, Ph.D. 202.508.3406
David W. Woodward 202.508.3423


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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