For complete coverage of this topic, download inovia's comprehensive guide, "The Post AIA Foreign Filing Flood: How to Prepare"
Although the America Invents Act (AIA) involves US laws, the ramifications have been relevant to applicants all over the world for nearly two years. When the final changes of the AIA came into effect on March 16, 2013, applicants scrambled to file in large numbers as the Act included a number of provisions that would make it more difficult to obtain patent protection in the United States.
Read on to see how the uptick in filing numbers prior to March 16, 2013 is now contributing to a higher-volume filing period in September and October of 2015.
First, a bit of background on the America Invents Act
Before we discuss an increase in filing numbers this fall, here is a bit of background on the America Invents Act. One of the most significant changes that occurred in implementing this new law was that the US lost its unique status as a first-to-invent jurisdiction. Previously, patent rights were granted to the first inventor who conceived of the invention and reduced it to practice (or diligently worked towards reducing it to practice). Starting on March 16, 2013, the first inventor to file got the patent rights. Now, the date of invention is irrelevant.
This change was monumental for the United States, as it aligned the US with almost every other country in the world. The next change that occurred on March 16, 2013 (hard to believe almost 2 years ago!), was the definition of prior art for assessing patentability. Previously, prior art included various uses (including sale) in the US, or written disclosures anywhere in the world. The AIA changed this so that any form of disclosure anywhere in the world forms part of the prior art.
Lastly, the change to first-inventor-to file meant that interference proceedings were no longer required. Instead, a derivations proceeding was available. This enabled inventors to challenge the owner of a patent with an earlier filing date, where the challenging inventor believed the earlier filer derived the invention from the challenging inventor.