It would be hard to understate the importance of the America Invents Act, as it represents the first major overhaul of the U.S. patent system in several decades. Before the majority of the proposed changes go into effect next year, companies should be weighing several important considerations in the interim.
The most notable adjustment will be the switch from a first to invent to a first to file framework beginning on March 16, 2013. While there are some notable business advantages associated with the impending reform, companies may also be wise to capitalize on opportunities still available in the first to invent era.
According to Fast Company, the current system directly benefits original inventors, allowing them to defend their intellectual property rights in the future with the submission of prior evidence such as laboratory notes. In effect, filing now will allow companies to take advantage of current regulations for years to come as future additions to the "application chain" will still be tied back to the 2012 provisions that govern the original application.
Savvy companies can leverage the best of both worlds by diligently analyzing their innovation pipelines and determining which products and services will benefit more from first to file and which should be fast-tracked for inclusion in the first to invent system. According to independent analysis from the Brookings Institution, the changes going into effect next March make invention disclosure management even more important as companies navigate new rules of engagement.