As most of you are now aware, the final phase in date for the provisions of the America Invents Act is March 16, 2013. One significant change is to eliminate the current one-year “grace” period as it applies to third party disclosures. This means, for example, if a third party develops and discloses an invention on March 1, 2013 and you file on March 18th, though you invented it almost a year earlier on April 1, 2012, you will lose the ability to patent the invention. If, however, you file on March 15th, the third party disclosure won’t keep you from getting the patent. Bottom line, if you have an invention you are considering for patent protection, you should file before March 16, 2013.
You will still have one year from your own disclosure of an invention to file your U.S. patent application, but caution, the disclosure will bar your ability to patent the invention in most foreign countries. Therefore, if you need foreign patent protection, your U.S. patent application must be filed before any disclosure, commercialization, or public use of the invention. Because it can take several weeks to prepare a patent application, you should contact us immediately to begin preparing the patent application.