The U.S. is on the verge of the largest shift the patent system has seen in decades as President Barack Obama prepares to sign a bill that will transform the process from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system.
The "America Invents Act," six years in the making, passed the Senate last week in a sweeping 89 to 9 vote accepting the bill, having won House approval in a similarly large landslide in March.
The sweeping reform bill a was crafted in part as a means to get a handle on some 700,000 backlogged patents and put a damper on the trigger-happy patent litigation that some companies use as a weapon against competitors.
The Act presents a means to keep patent spats out of court and may help weed out weak patents through a post-patent challenge period.
However, the first-to-file system also presents risks for innovators in small companies or academic environments where pockets aren’t deep enough to win a race to the patent office and an environment of free and open collaboration might be compromised by the fear that a colleague or competitor could run away with your idea, patent attorney David Dykeman told MassDevice.
Or pick from other segments of the interview:
- Main page: Patent attorney David Dykeman breaks down the America Invents Act
- Background on the America Invents Act
- Winners and losers under patent reform
- Pitfalls and windfalls under patent reform
- “File early, file often”
- The post-grant challenge period
- Patent trolls and infringement lawsuits under patent reform
- The Supreme Court’s hand in shaping patent law
- In-house initiatives at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
- Meet David Dykeman