With approximately one month remaining before the first to file provision of the America Invents Act goes into effect, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published its final rules and guidelines governing implementation.
"Migration to a first-inventor-to-file system will bring greater transparency, objectivity, predictability and simplicity to patentability determinations and is another step toward harmonizing U.S. patent law with that of other industrialized countries," explained Teresa Stanek Rea, acting director of the USPTO.
Aside from authorizing derivation proceedings before the governing body to ensure a clear trail of invention has been established, the micro-entity discounts coming into effect are expected to encourage and support the desire of independent operators to affordably file and defend their patent applications.
According to Intellectual Property Watch, the first to file transition will be immediately followed by a restructuring of patent fees as a means of funding more ambitious attempts at reducing the agency's sizeable application backlog. While the effects of these changes will primarily be observed on a case by case basis, the cumulative impact could extend far beyond company walls or national borders.