Professor Zoe Argento explains to R.I. Lawyers Weekly how the new federal patent law will change the sort of advice lawyers should offer to their clients.
From Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly: "Patent attorneys prepare for ‘Ides of March’" by Julie McMahon
March 7th, 2013: Two key provisions of the federal patent reform law that are due to go into effect March 16 have prompted lawyers to change the advice they offer clients. [...]
Patent lawyers, who are calling the effective date “The Ides of March,” say the changes are the most drastic in years.
“Under the first to invent, there was a lot of focus on inventors keeping track of when they invent something, so companies have policies about keeping notebooks and research accounts. That’s not going to be as important going forward,” said Zoe Argento, a professor at Roger Williams University School of Law. “There’s a lot more emphasis on filing now. The inventor’s notebook isn’t enough.” […]
The law includes a compromise for inventors and engineers who are still in the process of developing their products, or cannot afford to file often. A “first to publish” exception allows clients to disclose their inventions in a printed publication without affecting patentability, and to block others from filing a patent on the same invention. One year from publication, the patent must be filed.
“Our system is now a bit of a hybrid. Because of the first to disclose option, it’s not a true first to file system,” said RWU’s Argento. “It’s still a disadvantage for smaller inventors, though,” she said, adding that one year after disclosing, it can still be difficult for smaller inventors to have completed the market research necessary to determine if it is worth filing a patent. […]
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