Originally proposed in 2005, the America Invents Act ("AIA"), colloquially known as the "patent reform bill," was signed into law on September 16, 2011. This represents the most dramatic change to the U.S. patent law since the 1952 revision. A spur to Congress to pass the bill and to the President to sign it into law was a perception that "reform" of the patent system has an important role to play in stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and promoting U.S. global competitiveness. The passage of time and retrospective analysis is necessary to identify to what degree the AIA has had the intended positive effects. However, the AIA undeniably has changed the foundations of U.S. patent law, so that those who adapt to this change may benefit, and those who do not will suffer.
The AIA affects decisions on what should be patented, when a patent application should be filed, and how a patent application should be filed. Patent applicants must be aware of the provisions in the new law in order to optimize patent protection for the intended business purpose and avoid pitfalls.
Furthermore, the AIA includes a complex transition regime; that is, different provisions of the Act will replace corresponding provisions under the prior law at different times in the future. Although the provisions of the AIA will generally be implemented within the next 18 months, for certain cases, provisions of the prior law may apply for many years. Thus, for the immediate term, a patent applicant must synthesize clear business objectives with a detailed understanding of provisions under both the AIA and the prior law in order to maximize the value of technical innovations. This article considers only a few of the changes to the U.S. patent law affected by the AIA, specifically, those that are understood to clearly impact the procurement of patents. However, the aspects of the AIA that are important depend on the facts and circumstances relevant to a given applicant.
Please see article below for more information.
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