New IP Law Set to Take Effect on March 16th

Walter Devins, Attorney

Intellectual Property has been a very common buzzword for the past several year. We often have clients that comment or ask:

  • our system is broken, especially when it comes to software
  • patent trolls are everywhere
  • are my ideas worth the expense of a copyright or trademark

Well, things are set to change this weekend. On March 16th, a key component of US Intellectual Property law is set to change.  The best way to summarize the change is now the “first to file” a patent application will have priority over all others. Now, at first glance this makes since.  The first person or company that would file a patent application should have priority over someone who filed later.  However, the practical affect of this will be huge, and the burden most likely felt by entrepreneurs and small companies.

So what will the effect be?  In the past, if someone could prove (within a reasonable amount of time) that they actually developed the idea of the invention, they could roll back the clock to the time when they developed the idea.  This was advantageous as it helped small inventors decide whether an idea was worth pursuing a patent on or simply allow them a grace period.  Now, everyone (large and small companies and individuals) will be incentivized to file as soon as possible.  Larger companies have the budget for this but others do not.

As we see what happens in the market place, a near term strategy would be to file a provisional application to establish an effective filing date for any early stage ideas and concepts that you may have. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this new law or Intellectual Property. 

Walter Devins

Harrison and Devins, PA