The Amazing Race to the Patent Office: New law will replace first-to-invent with first-to-file By Len Brignac

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“The America Invents Act” will be up for vote before the United States Senate in September and is likely to be signed into law. If this happens, this legislation will bring significant changes to existing patent laws, and will align the United States with a more European approach to patents.

One of the most notable changes will replace “first-to-invent,” giving priority to the “first-inventor-to-file.” This change creates more of a race to the U.S. Patent Office by granting rights to the first person to file regardless of who may have first conceived the invention. This change may be problematic to individual inventors and smaller businesses that don’t have the time and financial resources or manpower to initiate the patent process as quickly as larger entities. If the America Invents Acts passes in September 2011, the “first-inventor-to-file” rule will be effective eighteen months after the date of enactment of this law, or March 2013.

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