With the passing of the Bill by Senate with an overwhelming majority, the US Patent Law has after a long time, undergone a substantial changes. Changes, which has brought US now in the same lines of most of the other patent systems in the world.
The major reforms are listed below:
1. first and foremost, US, from now on, would be having the 'first to file' system, replacing the controversial and time (and ofcourse money) consuming 'first to invent' system, thereby changing the definition of 'prior art' substantially and also repealing the interference proceedings.
2. The opposition procedures have been revised and several other features been added, like inter partes review, post-grant review and also tools to oppose patent applications with expanded discovery and to file multiple oppositions.
3. Several enforcement and related issues are now eligible to be decided by USPTO, without going to the Court.
Though the opponents of the Bill are many, but with its signature scheduled on 16th Sept, 2011, the Act would be coming into effect almost immediately.
With several critiques of the Act in the federation, one may have read several complaints/grudges about this Bill. But, we would try to tell you the story from the other side, as to, how the Act would indeed help the small innovators and foster healthy research. An exhaustive reading of the Act would probably throw some more light on this.
Till then, keep reading and waiting for the detailed analysis !!