This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office achieved a significant milestone in its ongoing implementation of the America Invents Act. Ahead of the March 2013 transition to a first to file system, officials have published a proposal to amend patent case rules of practice.
The USPTO also released a complementary list of examination guidelines for patent review boards operating in a first to file system for the first time. The recommendation paid particular attention to procedures for determining the novelty and obviousness of proposed innovations.
"The first inventor to file provision of the America Invents Act, one of its hallmarks, brings greater transparency, objectivity, predictability and simplicity in patentability determinations," said USPTO director David Kappos. "At the same time, the provision brings the United States closer in harmonizing our patent law with those in other countries around the globe."
As it stands, the U.S. remains the sole subscriber to the first to invent system. By bringing its patent system into alignment with international regulatory bodies, both foreign and domestic inventors could be inspired to enter the new, less restrictive marketplace.