One of the America Invents Act's most significant provisions may not go into effect until March, but when it does, a flurry of activity could follow shortly thereafter. When the U.S. patent system officially completes its transition to a first to file framework, the speed with which inventors assess and commercialize inventions could take greater precedence than ever before.
The new legislation may give added priority to filing dates, but that is the not the only factor for consideration when weighing applications. According to UCLA professor and Brookings Institute fellow John Villasenor, patent approval will hinge on the interplay of formal filing dates as well as any previous public disclosures related to that invention.
According to the Metro East Legal Journal, this could actually make it easier for savvy companies to impede the progress of flat-footed competitors. Particularly in an age of readily available digital information, innovators must ensure they understand their portfolio and its potential better than anyone else.
The silver lining for smaller entities that may be intimidated by the patenting resources of larger competitors is that they typically hold the advantage in terms of administrative efficiency. As Villasenor noted, sprawling corporate bureaucracy could slow application turnaround time whereas agile independent inventors can act on opportunities as soon as they're spotted.