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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 14, 2013

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.

by Kristina Knight

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

Tags: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, Rocket Lawyer, small business patents, small business trends, SMB tips

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  • Ken Jones

    The US is simply modernising and about time. There is absolutely no question that when it comes to patenting, the UK is pre-eminent, way out ahead. The US and the rest are simply falling into line now digital is making the world a global village. Phone the UK patent office and somebody knowledgeable answers the phone. Do the same with the USPTO and see what I mean. Check out the USPTO website - unreadable, a dumping ground for ridiculous copy, written by illiterate US lawyers who have absolutely no interest in the reader, all they want to do is get out of the office asap and play golf. Lazy, lazy, lazy, just plain dumb, sadly probably both. Check out the UK IPO website - brilliant, well written, to the point.

    Clearly the first to file keeps the argument simple but having said that no inventor should rush to file. Better to take time and patent the best solution. There are many good books on the subject from a US point of view - Dummies and of course David Pressman but what alerted me to the international angle and what I guarantee will get you down and dirty fast, is Amazon's little ebook on DIY patenting online. Once you take the international aspect on board the US had no option but to fall into line. The world no longer stops at the Pacific and Atlantic coast. Europe alone has twice the population of the US and patenting and all IP like copyright law is homogenising worldwide.



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