Inventing something is a big deal. Creating something new, something that you have poured your heart, time, and money into is something that you want to protect. In the past decade, major changes in the law have altered how legal protections will apply to inventions. You still need to file for a patent, but what if someone with a substantially similar invention filed before you? What if you invented before them, but they still filed before you? Who will be granted the patent? The America Invents Act (AIA) changed the answer to these questions for patent applications filed after 2013. The AIA also brought other significant changes to the world of intellectual property rights.
What is the America Invents Act (AIA)?
Enacted into law on September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act shifted the system of intellectual property rights in a major way. The law went into effect on March 16, 2013. One of the most drastic changes brought by the AIA was a move from a “first to invent” system to a “first to file” system. This means that, when it comes to an invention, the date it was invented is no longer the most significant date. The date the application is filed at the Patent Office is now the most significant date. This change brings the U.S. more in line with the rest of the world in this regard.
The inventor who files the patent application later still has the ability to contest inventorship, but may only do so if he or she can show that substantive content in the previous application was taken from the inventor who filed the later application.
The AIA also replaces the “interference proceeding” with a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office “derivation proceeding.” The purpose of a derivation proceeding is to resolve a challenge as to whether another patent applicant can receive a patent for an invention similar in design to an invention that was already granted a patent. The burden rests on the patent challenger and the challenge must be filed within one year of the first publication of a claim to the similar invention.
The AIA made several other changes all designed to protect inventors and, at the same time, encourage innovation. For instance, substantial discounts will now be given to entities that hold less than five patents as well as small businesses.
Garden City Attorneys Securing Your Intellectual Property Rights.
At Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser PC, we hold our inventor clients in the highest esteem. We know what goes into their creations and we take our job of protecting their legal rights to these creations very seriously. Contact us today.
Posted in: Patents