The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law in September of 2011, but many of its central provisions did not go into effect until Mar. 16, 2013. This means that we are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of many of the new policies and procedures that it brought forth, including the “first to file” provision. The question looms, then, did this change to the law help or hurt inventors?
Prior to the AIA, the U.S. had a “first to invent” system of granting patents rewarded the inventor who could demonstrate that he or she had invented the technology first. This change to “first inventor to file” puts the U.S. in line with other nations, but some experts say that the new provisions have placed undue strain on small businesses.