Today, President Barack Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act – the most significant change to U.S. patent law in the last 50 years. Some of the most important changes include:

  • First-Inventor-to-File: The U.S. has moved from a first-to-invent to a firstinventor-to-file country (i.e., there is now a race to the Patent Office)
  • 35 U.S.C. §§102-103: Significant changes to novelty and nonobviousness standards, including what constitutes prior art, impacts on grace periods, and the end of “swearing behind” a reference
  • Post-Grant Review: Non-patent owners can petition for review of a granted patent within 9 months of the grant date
  • Prioritized Examination: Opportunity for a relatively quick 12-month examination for a patent application
  • Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents: The USPTO must conduct a review of issued business method patents
  • Best Mode: Challenges to “best mode” as an infringement defense end
  • Patent Marking: False marking laws have been significantly changed
  • USPTO Fees: Fees are increasing by 15%  

In addition to the above changes, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act also includes changes regarding entities, tax-strategy patents, patent term extensions, reexamination, civil actions regarding patents and a variety of other issues.