Congress Makes Substantial Changes To Patent Law With The America Invents Act
September 21, 2011
On September 16, 2011, President Obama signed the "America Invents Act" into law, marking the culmination of a push for patent reform that began in 2005. This is the first major reform of patent law in the United States since 1952 and it contains many changes relevant to inventors, current patent owners and those facing the prospect of defending against charges of patent infringement. Most significantly, the act converts the U.S. from a "first-to-invent" patent system to a "first-to-file" system, provides an expanded prior commercial use defense to infringement and implements new procedures for administratively challenging a patent after it has been granted, including a special program for business method patents. Most provisions of the act take effect on September 16, 2012, although some provisions are effective immediately and others take effect more than one year from now.