Ten Things You Should Know About Patent Reform

The America Invents Act H.R.1249, passed the Senate on September 8, 2011, by an overwhelming vote of 89-9. It is long and complex, and will create significant changes to the U.S. patent system, which will have a wide ranging impact on both U.S. and foreign businesses. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law as part of his recently announced job-creation initiative. The law is designed to encourage investment in leading edge technology and spur the formation and growth of existing and new enterprises. Changes in the law encompass “first to file” priority for inventions, methods to block the granting of a patent, streamlined challenges to existing patents, modified aspects of lengthy and expensive patent infringement disputes to specialized administrative tribunals, and other issues. Below is an easy-tofollow “top 10 list” of what you need to know about the new law.

1. First-Inventor-to-File System. The legislation switched the U.S. patent system from a “first-to invent” system to a “first-inventor-to-file” system, bringing it more into harmony with other nations. It replaced patent interferences with derivation proceedings to ensure that a patent applicant does not derive the invention from another person.

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