The U.S. First-to-File Patent System Takes Effect March 16, 2013


What You Need to Know -

March 16, 2013 is a critical cross-over date in the U.S. patent law which changes from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. Under the current first-to-invent system, the first person to invent is entitled to patent rights. Under the new first-to-file system, patent rights are granted to the first inventor to file a patent application regardless of who was the first to invent. Any application or patent that contains, or contained at any time, a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, will be subject to the new first-to-file system. The first-to-file system opens up a significantly larger body of prior art applicable to a claimed invention. Accordingly, we suggest, if at all possible, taking necessary steps to ensure that applications filed in the immediate future fall under the old first-to-invent system. A brief overview of how applications are affected by this change follows.

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