A quick survey of the america invents act
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A Quick Survey of the America Invents Act. Patent Law October 12, 2011. Passage. Product of six years of Congressional activity Enacted September 16 Effective dates vary. Changes to the Patent Act. Today: First Inventor to File (or Publicly Disclose) Prior User Rights Best Mode

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A Quick Survey of the America Invents Act

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A quick survey of the america invents act

A Quick Survey of the America Invents Act

Patent Law

October 12, 2011


Passage

Passage

  • Product of six years of Congressional activity

  • Enacted September 16

  • Effective dates vary


Changes to the patent act

Changes to the Patent Act

Today:

  • First Inventor to File (or Publicly Disclose)

  • Prior User Rights

  • Best Mode

    Not covered:

  • USPTO Processes and Fees

  • Judicial Procedures (venue, etc.)

  • Other Minor Modifications


First to file

First to File

  • First filer wins [102(a)], unless [102(b)]:

    • (i) the second filer was first to “publicly disclose” the invention

    • (ii) the first filer obtained the invention directly or indirectly from the second filer

    • (iii) the first filer abandoned the application prior to publication or issuance

  • Effective date: Applies to all applications filed on or after March 16, 2013


Old doctrines in new statutes

Old Doctrines in New Statutes

  • Major changes:

    • No geographic restrictions on prior art

    • 102(a): Prior art = prior to effective filing date

    • 102(b): Defined exceptions; one-year grace period


Six categories of prior art

Six Categories of Prior Art

§ 102(a) NOVELTY; PRIOR ART.—A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—

(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or

(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued [to another] … or in [another’s] application for patent published … [that] was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.


Otherwise available to the public

“Otherwise Available to the Public”

  • Seems similar to “known or used by others”


Public use on sale caselaw

“Public Use”/“On Sale” Caselaw

  • Are Metallizing, etc. still good law? Probably:

    • Statutory reenactment

    • No clear legislative history to the contrary


102 b grace period

102(b) Grace Period

102(b) May file within one year after:

(1)(A) Any disclosure “directly or indirectly” from the applicant

(1)(B) Disclosures by others that occurred after “public” disclosure by the applicant

(2)(A) First filer derived invention from second filer

(2)(B) First filer filed after “public” disclosure by applicant/second filer


A grace period events hypos

(A) Grace Period Events Hypos

  • Jacob files on 10/1/2013. What if:

    • Jacob publishes article disclosing invention on 5/1/2013?

    • Marc steals Jacob’s notes and places an embodiment of the invention on sale on 2/1/2013?

    • Marc steals Jacob’s notes and uses them to file a U.S. patent application on 4/1/2013?


B grace period events hypos

(B) Grace Period Events Hypos

  • Elliott publishes an article disclosing invention on 1/1/2014 and files application claiming invention on 12/1/2014. What if:

    • Aaron independently publishes an article disclosing the same invention on 2/1/2014?

    • Aaron files a patent application claiming the same invention based on his own independent research on 4/1/2014?


For discussion

For discussion

Is the new grace period more or less favorable to inventors?

In other words:

Does “disclosure” in new 102(b)(1)(A) and (2)(A) include every activity by the applicant that would generate prior art under 102(a)(1)?

Does “disclosure” in new 102(b)(1)(B) and (2)(B) include every activity by a third party that would generate prior art under 102(a)(1)?


More 102 hypos

More 102 Hypos

  • Thomas conceives and reduces to practice on 8/1/2012

  • Thomas files 6/1/2013

  • On 5/1/2013, Andrew had published a journal article disclosing the material later claimed by Thomas.

  • Can Thomas get the patent?


More 102 hypos1

More 102 Hypos

  • Aaron enters into a confidential agreement with Matt’s company to sell units of Aaron’s invention on 6/1/2013

  • How long does Aaron have to file?


More 102 hypos2

More 102 Hypos

  • Aaron enters into a confidential agreement with Matt’s company to sell products produced using Aaron’s secret process invention on 6/1/2013

  • Alex independently discovers the same process and publishes an article disclosing it on 8/1/2013

  • Aaron files a patent application on 9/1/2013

  • Can Aaron get the patent?


More 102 hypos3

More 102 Hypos

  • Aaron enters into a confidential agreement with Matt’s company to sell products produced using Aaron’s secret process invention on 6/1/2013

  • Alex independently discovers the same process and publishes an article disclosing it on 8/1/2013

  • Aaron files a patent application on 9/1/2013

  • Alex files a patent application on 7/1/2014

  • Who gets the patent?


More 102 hypos4

More 102 Hypos

  • Aaron enters into a confidential agreement with Matt’s company to sell products produced using Aaron’s secret process invention on 6/1/2013

  • Alex independently discovers the same process and publishes an article disclosing it on 8/1/2013

  • Aaron files a patent application on 9/1/2013

  • Alex files a patent application on 7/1/2014

  • Aaron can prove a public disclosure on 7/15/2013

  • Who gets the patent?


Prior user rights

Prior User Rights

  • Effective date: Applies to all litigation filed on or after September 16, 2011

  • Prior user right is a personal defense to infringement liability; it does not invalidate a patent

  • Cannot be asserted against universities or their ancillary technology transfer organizations


Prior user rights1

Prior User Rights

  • Elements

    • Prior commercial use

      • More than one year before filing

    • Clear and convincing evidence

    • No subject matter limitation


Best mode

Best Mode

  • Failure to state best mode:

    • Can be basis for PTO rejection

      • PTO can enforce through litigation

    • Cannot be pleaded as invalidity or unenforceability defense


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