America Invents Act

On 16 September 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which brings US patent law closer into line with the patent law of many other industrialized countries.

The most notable change is the implementation of a ‘first-to-file’ rule, a significant change from the United States’ previous ‘first-to-invent’ rule, where patent protection was available to those who invented first, even if another inventor filed a patent application first.

The act also allows patent applications to be filed in the name of a corporate entity, if the inventor has assigned, or is under an obligation to assign, the invention to that entity. It also creates a post-grant review procedure, enabling third parties to effectively oppose a patent within 9 months after it has been granted.

Most of the significant changes are scheduled to come into effect in 12-18 months’ time.

Contact: If you have any specific enquiries about the America Invents Act, please contact Debra Tulloch.