With the demand for consumer goods constantly rising, the technology industry has seen a record high in patent applications - and litigation. In response, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has switched from the “first-to-invent” system to a “first-to-file” system as of March 2013. Adopted as part of the larger America Invents Act of 2011, the new system eliminates the process of costly “interference proceedings,” which occurred in less than 1 percent of patent filings in 2007, and which awarded patent rights to the second-to-file in only seven cases. In addition to circumventing the “first-to-invent” standard of proof, the new system also enables applicants to expedite the review process through a prioritized examination fee. However, merely racing to the patent office to file first does not necessarily stymie future conflicts, as all filings are still subject to a post-grant review, which may challenge the validity of patents based on scope and compliance.
Attorneys at Ellsworth Intellectual Property Group PLLC are experts who are well-equipped to help inventors and companies navigate the new - and constantly changing - patent laws.