By Steven J. Hultquist of Hultquist PLLC
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) was signed into law by President Obama on September 16, 2011 amending Title 35, United States Code, "to provide for patent reform."
Some of the more pertinent aspects of this legislation are identified below, with brief commentary.
Change From First-To-Invent To First-To-File
On March 16, 2013, the provisions of the AIA-revised 35 U.S.C. §102 come into effect, with the result that the U.S. patent system will change on that date to a first-to-file system.
The new first-to-file law will apply to patent applications filed on or after March 16, 2013, or that contain any claims having an effective date on or after March 16, 2013. The old first to invent law will continue to apply to patent applications filed before March 16, 2013. The practical consequence of the change to the first-to-file system will be a significant rush of U.S. Patent application filings as this date approaches, to obtain the benefits of the prior law.
The old law first-to-invent system was based on the premise that an invention is made by (i) conception of the inventive idea, followed by (ii) reduction of practice of that inventive idea.
Reduction to practice thus is a completion-of-the-invention event. It can be carried out in two different ways. One way is to physically implement the invention, to "prove out" the inventive idea and demonstrate its workability. This i...