New AIA Patent Law Brings Rush

 On the eve of the new AIA patent law changes, most law firms around the country were scrambling to file patent application s before the U.S. switched to the new first to file system, bombarding the Patent Office with a record number of applications, according to data from the agency. Preliminary numbers from the USPTO show it received 13,888 patent applications on March 15, the second-highest application total for a single day. The only day where more applications were received was June 7, 1995, also the day before a new patent law came into effect. “It was like hell week,” said Christopher Daley-Watson, a partner with Perkins Coie, whose intellectual property practice filed 558 patent applications for its clients in March, 211 of them on March 15. In comparison, the firm filed 187 applications for the same month in 2012. The “old” law reviewed patents under a system known as first-to-invent, which granted the patent to the entity that could prove it came up with the invention first. As of March 16, first-to-invent was replaced with the more narrowly drawn first-to-file system, which grants patents to the first entity to apply. Some proponets of the new system claim that the first-to-file system is a more efficient way of filing, others say that the new system discourages innovation from smalller entities who often have to balance the need to file with the liklihood of commercial success. The old system favored fairness, and we went for fairness. Now we’re like every other country and the apokucant must race to the patent office to try and protect their invention. At the Intellectual Property Center we saw a boost from the switch in filing systems. Patent filings rose over 100 percent in March over the same period a year ago, which came within the two weeks before the first-to-invent system was phased out. Under the new law, their may be a higher frequency of non-provisional patent applications. Under the old law, the USPTO had enacted a provisional/non-provisional process to harmonise the U.S. and foreign systems. An inventor used to be able to file an incomplete, provisional patent and then 12 months later, after some further refinement, file a complete, non-provisional patent application. The new law draws into question the benefit of an incomplete, provisional patent because it would lack the complete description of the invention as may be required under the first to file system. Going forward, if you would like to consider obtaining a new patent under the new law, we stongly encourage scheduling a meeting as early as possible so that we can get to know your inventions and goals. It has been reported that on average, the patent office receives about 10,000 utility patent applications per week.

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