On March 16, 2013, the new "first-inventor-to-file" (FITF) provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 will go into effect. All patent applications filed after that date will be subject to a radical new philosophy – at least new to the United States – that the first person to file a patent application on a new invention will normally be entitled to receive a patent. This is a major conceptual change from the former system of "first to invent" which has persisted in the U.S. patent system for centuries.
Also on that date, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is expected to put new rules and regulations into effect that govern how patent applications filed under the FITF law will be processed and examined.These new laws, regulations, and rules will affect the way that technology companies handle invention disclosures and patent filings. The main anticipated effect of the new system is that companies must accelerate their internal processes for identifying inventions for which to seek patents, as well as preparing and filing patent applications.
1. Key provisions of the FITF law
2. An overview of the new USPTO rules and regulations
3. A brief review of other AIA laws and procedures for challenging patents
4. Practical implications for patent filers
5. Steps that should be taken before March 16, 2013