PTO Rules Implementing First-Inventor-to-File Provisions

Author: Alice Wang

One of the most historic changes made by the AIA is the conversion of the U.S. patent system from a “first-to-invent” to a “first-inventor-to-file” system effective March 16, 2013. On February 14, 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued final rules governing the “first-inventor-to-file” (FITF) provisions enacted by Section 3 of the AIA. Concurrently, the USPTO published Examination Guidelines for Implementing the First Inventor to File Provisions of the AIA (Examination Guidelines).

The FITF final rules revise the rules of practice to make them more consistent with the AIA and address examination issues resulting from those patent law changes. The Examination Guidelines set forth, for instance, the agency’s interpretation of 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103 as amended by the AIA. In particular, the Examination Guidelines explain the type of prior art that can preclude a patent under 35 U.S.C. § 102(a) and the type of prior art that falls under the exceptions of § 102(b). 

PTO Rules and Examination Guidelines


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