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America Invents Act: Patent Reform

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On September 16, 2011, the United States passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act ("AIA") that will radically modify the patent system on March 16, 2013. The most dramatic provision of the AIA will change the Unites States patent system from a "First-to-Invent" to a "First-Inventor-To-File" system. In general, this means that proof of when an inventor discovered an invention will have essentially no bearing on applicatoins filed after March 16, 2013. Rather, the first inventor to file an application (and not the first inventor to invent) will, in most cases, have rights to a patent.

Under these circumstances, it is imperative to file a patent applicatoin (either provisional or non-provisional) with a detailed technical description of the inveniton as soon as possible to avoid being beat to the Patent Office by a second, and perhaps subsequent, inventor.