Monday, September 12, 2011

First to file - patent legislation passed by Congress

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act passed by Congress and awaiting President Obama's signature will make sweeping changes to the U.S. patent system including changing the patentability/novelty entitlement from "first to invent" to "first to file" as follows:
Sec. 102. Conditions for patentability; novelty

`(a) Novelty; Prior Art- A person shall be entitled to a patent unless--

`(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or

`(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

The legislation includes many additional changes including changes to patent fees. See the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Leahy-Smith America Invents Act Implementation site for details about the legislation and a timeline for near-term effective dates.

Send comments on the pending legislation to the Whitehouse.