The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will finish transitioning The U.S. patent system from a “first to invent” system to a first inventor to file system.
The USPTO also will implement amended rules of practice and examination guidelines related to its interpretation of the first-inventor-to-file provision of the American Invents Act.
“The first-inventor-to-file provision of the America Invents Act, one of its hallmarks, brings greater transparency, objectivity, predictability, and simplicity in patentability determinations,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos said previously prior to his departure from the USPTO. “At the same time, the provision brings the United States closer in harmonizing our patent law with those in other countries around the globe.”
The rules of patent practice will be amended to reflect the following changes made by the America Invents Act:
• Convert the United States patent system from a ‘‘first to invent’’ system to a ‘‘first inventor to file’’ system;
• Treat U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications as prior art as of their earliest effective filing date, regardless of whether the earliest effective filing date is based upon an application filed in the U.S. or in another country;
• Eliminate the requirement that a prior public use or sale be ‘‘in this country’’ to be a prior art activity; and
• Treat commonly owned or joint research agreement patents and patent application publications as being by the same inventive entity for purposes of 35 U.S.C. 102, as well as 35 U.S.C. 103.
The first-inventor-to-file provision is scheduled to take effect March 16, 2013.
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