March 16 marked the day a series of new Patent Laws went into effect. Below is an explanation of some important changes that could potentially impact your business.
The United States used to be one of the only countries where the first person to invent was awarded the patent for that invention regardless of when they filed their application. That is no longer the case. Desiring to get the U.S. in line with the rest of the world and increase the efficiency of the patent process, the AIA made the U.S. a “first to file system.” The first person to file their patent application, regardless of when the idea was conceived is now entitled to 20 years of patent protection calculated from the filing date regardless of whether or not they thought up the invention first.
Furthermore, selling or offering to sell an invention in the U.S. starts a one year clock ticking within which you have to file a patent application or forfeit your patent rights. Under the AIA such an offer or sale outside the U.S. also begins the countdown to when you must file. This further increases the importance of filing for your ideas prior to taking them to market.
With regard to Design Patents, the term has been extended an additional year to 15 years from the date of filing. There are many more and these are just a few of the ways the AIA has impacted the patent system. For specific questions regarding how your business could be affected, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.