What is the Recent U.S. Patent Reform Law and What Does it Mean to You and Your Business?

by Larissa Martin

For the past 220 years the United States has operated under the "first-to-invent" system, which implies that the first person to invent something receives the patent protection for that invention. The United States has been the only country to utilize this system with relation to patents.

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was passed by Congress on September 8, 2011 and was signed by President Obama on September 16, 2011. Under the new law, our country will now issue patents using the internationally employed "first-to-file system" which will award patent rights to the first person to file an application for the invention, regardless of the origins of invention or the date the invention was first discovered.

This new law will directly influence the way that patents are obtained and issued, as well as potentially decreasing Intellectual Property related litigation. These types of legal disputes often originate from patent or copyright issues and are often costly and time consuming. It is anticipated that the filing process will be exceptionally faster under the new law as patents could possibly be issued in twelve months or less. The law also states that inventors and small businesses that qualify as "micro" businesses will be receiving a significant discount in required fees. The goals of the law are to encourage innovation and provide incentive for inventors to fully implement their ideas into action. It is predicted that the new law will make the entire process substantially more efficient in addition to inspiring innovation and entrepreneurialism in the United States.
It is critical that both you and your business adjust your policies and strategies to adhere to the new law. First, make sure to have inventors give their legal consent for your business to file a patent application on their behalf. This will help ensure that the proper legal action is filed in time and due credit is received. Also, contact a patent lawyer as soon a possible to inform them of new inventions and jumpstart the process. You don't want to lose your opportunity to acquire a patent on your extraordinary invention to a competitor. Finally, make sure you seek capable, experienced, and skilled representation.

At Fanger & Davidson LLC, we have decades of experience in protecting our clients' interests with regards to obtaining patents, copyrights, trademarks, and devising non-competition and non-disclosure agreements. We are happy to represent you in handling your Intellectual Property needs to ensure your rights are protected and your idea or invention is secure.
Contact Fanger & Davidson LLC today to represent you and protect your Intellectual Property rights.