On March 16, 2013, the United States will transition from a first to invent system to a first to file system under the America Invents Act (“Patent Act”). As the March 16, 2013 date approaches, inventors and businesses should consider the following things when implementing a patent protection strategy.
Under the Patent Act, any disclosure dated prior to the filing date of the inventor’s patent application will considered prior art and bar the inventor from being granted a patent on the invention unless one of two exceptions applies. Hence, the general rule is that you must be the first to file. Under the first exception, if the prior art disclosure is 1 year or less prior to the filing date of the inventor’s patent application and the prior art disclosure is