Overview of the America Invents Act of 2011

Intellectual Property News



The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”), signed into law on September 16, 2011, is heralded as the most substantial reform of American patent laws since 1952. The provision that has received the majority of public notice, the switch in the United States patent law from a first-to-invent system to first-to-file system, is just one of a myriad of changes the AIA brings to the patent law landscape. The AIA contains some provisions which are effective immediately (on September 16, 2011) and some that are phased in over time. For example, the change from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system will not take effect until March 16, 2013, 18 months after the effective date of the AIA. Other changes, such as the fee revision provisions, are taking effect immediately or shortly after enactment. These changes will likely impact strategic decisions on issues regarding patent filing strategies, strategies for challenging issued patents, and enforcement or defense strategies in litigation. Accordingly, patent holders should evaluate their strategic plans in light of the many changes introduced by the AIA.

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