What You Need To Know
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) is the first significant change to the US patent system in more than 60 years.
Here are some of the things that may impact you as an inventor:
First Inventor to File
Under the old system it was possible to obtain a patent even if you were not the first one to file a patent application, if you were able to show the PTO that you had invented first and not unduly delayed in filing your patent application. On March 16, 2013, this changed to the first person to file. Because of this change is it very important to move quickly from conception to filing.
After March 16, 2013 the filing of a cover page provisional application (not showing enablement of your inventing) will not result in an early filing date for priority purposes. Now, in order to get priority to the provisional filing date the disclosure must describe and enable the full scope of the later claimed invention. We will work with you to file as robust an application as possible. You can help by making sure we have as much information upon disclosure as possible.
Redefinition of Prior Art
The one-year grace period still exists to the extent that it is your invention being published, i.e., a publication by the inventors, or a press release or a magazine article describing the inventors’ invention does not bar the inventors from later filing a US patent application. However, such a publication immediately bars other inventors from filing a patent application on their (identical) invention.