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    Congress Passes Major Changes to Key Patenting Principles

    Date: October 01, 2011

     

    After at least six years of Congressional efforts to reform the system, the America Invents Act (HR 1249) was passed to reform US patent laws. Previously, legislation had a “first to invent” basis for patents. The new act will instate a “first to file” standard, aligning the U.S. with patent laws in other nations. The Patent and Trademark Office now has the authority to keep and spend all revenue from applications. This allows the office to hire more staff, thus speeding up the outdated process. Attention was also given to a revision of the legal definition of “micro-entity”. The term now includes high education public institutions so they may have access to reduced application fees. Universities also hold “prior user rights” related to publishing and later patenting of university developed technologies. The complete America Invents Act can be found here.