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SMBs: US patent laws changing, are you ready?
This month patent laws in the US change, affecting many SMBs. The problem? A lot of SMBs are out of the loop because they don't understand the underlying facts of the change. Rocket Lawyer's experts are here to help.
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) was signed back in 2011 and this weekend, March 16, 2013 to be exact, the shifts required by the act begin. Chief among them 'first to invent' will be changed to 'first to file'. What does it mean?
"First, the inventor who files a later application is permitted to contest inventorship on a previously filed application only if it is shown that the subject matter disclosed in the previous application was derived from the inventor who files the later application. This occurs through a derivation proceeding, which replaces interference proceedings. Second, inventors still have a one-year grace period during which the inventor's own disclosures or disclosures of others who derived their invention from the inventor may not be used as prior art if they occurred within 12 months prior to the effective filing date of the invention," writes Rocket Lawyer.
According to a recent survey from Rocket Lawyer only 9% of SMB respondents are aware of the change. Other interesting findings include:
• 32% believe 'first to file' encourages innovation
• 36% would pay more if patents were issued faster
• 77% say they understand the difference between 'first to invent' and 'first to file'
• 80% believe patents can protect their businesses from competitors
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