The changes implemented by the America Invents Act (AIA) have made it so that the patent system needs to be approached in an entirely new way. Patent practitioners need to have a detailed understanding of how the AIA affects litigation, prosecution and post-grant proceedings. This article is the third of a three-part series. Read parts one and two of this series.
The America Invents Act (AIA) has significantly altered patent prosecution. One of the most widely discussed prosecution aspects of the AIA is the first-inventor-to-file system, which replaced the existing first-to-invent system on March 16. On paper, this is a dramatic shift in how patent rights are determined. From a practical perspective, though, one would hope that this would have little effect on patent prosecution, as filing an application early is generally advisable. While there are certainly exceptions and roadblocks to the preferred process of filing early and often, the new first-inventor-to-file system should, at a minimum, be a disincentive to those who procrastinate.