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11 March 2011

Is the US set to become a ‘First to File Country’?

Is the US set to become a ‘First to File Country’?

On 8 March 2011 the US Senate passed a bill setting out the new US Patents Act. One of the key changes to the Act is that the United States would change from a ‘first to invent’ to a ‘first to file country’. This significant change would bring the US into line with other industrial countries.

Opponents to the bill claim this will favour big businesses that have the resources to file patent applications early. Supporters of course claim it will give greater certainty over ownership of inventions and align the US with other industrial nations.

It seems that the legislation is unlikely to pass through the House of Representatives easily and so we will have to wait to see if this fundamental change to US practice becomes a reality.


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