On September 16, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which makes significant changes to U.S. patent law. Certain provisions related to fee increases take effect next week on September 26, 2011.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will add a 15 percent surcharge on most fees charged, including filing fees, excess claims fees, examination fees, issue fees, extension fees, maintenance fees, patent search fees, and reexaminations fees. Applicants may wish to accelerate their submissions in order to avoid the surcharge.

The Leahy-Smith Act set the filing fee for prioritized examination at $4,800 for large entities and $2,400 for small entities. The final rules for requesting prioritized examination had been on hold since April 29, 2011, but with the Leahy-Smith Act changes, the effective date for filing for prioritized patent examination is September 26, 2011. The final rules are expected to be published in the Federal Register this week.