A Compromise over the America Invents Act

When President Barack Obama signed the America Invents Act into law on Sept. 16, it promised some rather dramatic changes to the patent system. At its most basic level, the act changed the patent system from a so-called “first to invent” system to a “first to file” system.

When the act takes effect, though, the invention date won’t be as important. What will be critical is getting to the Patent office to file your claim before anyone else. There are also changes to the peer-review process, the way the US patent office looks at non-US documents, and significant changes to post-grant validity proceedings.  All around, a compromise in the true legislative sense.  No one got everything, everyone got something.

But the reality is that some individual inventors will not have the tools to file online as quickly as others, and that will cause a fair amount of concern moving forward.  Individual inventors may also have some difficulty with the post-grant reviews.  Those kinds of drawn out affairs tend to favor corporations.

There’s no doubt that AIA is good for the U.S. Patent Office and a significant step forward.  I hope the individual inventor doesn’t get lost in all that progress.

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