This weekend the ‘first-to-file’ rules come into force in the United States as part of the America Invents Act implementation. Among other things, the new rules affect the significance of the date of invention and the scope of prior art citable against applications.
United States was the last country in the world to use a ‘first-to-invent’ patent system but the new rules have some features not seen in other systems, particularly its ‘grace period’ rules.
Some of the key changes:
- focus on priority filing date rather than date of invention
- including more foreign prior art
- changes to one year ‘grace period’, particular for disclosure by the inventor
- use of co-pending US applications as prior art
The USPTO has an updated chart of implementation of the America Invents Act and on the ‘first-to-file’ rules. In September, rules relating to patent prosecution came into force including on inventor declarations and applicant.