The months of February and March 2013 are both exciting and challenging for US patent practitioners, as we are preparing for implementation of the final portion of the America Invents Act (AIA). On March 16, 2013, the US patent system will move from a First-to-Invent patent system to a First-Inventor-to-File patent system.
In addition to all of the AIA changes that are occurring in the US, Australia is also implementing changes to their patent system; these changes will expand the scope of prior art and raise Australia's patentability requirements, ultimately making it harder to obtain a patent in Australia. The new rules will apply to all Australian applications for which a Request for Examination (RFE) has not been filed prior to April 15, 2013. If you have a pending Australian application for which an RFE is due after April 15, 2013, we recommend that you go ahead and file the RFE prior to April 15, 2013, so that you can maintain your application under the old law.