On Monday, the USPTO is expected to publish a set of proposed administrative rules for implementing the new first-to-file regime codified by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). A pre-publication copy is attached. Changes to Implement the First Inventor to File Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Once finalized, the rules should become effective by March 16, 2013. Comments on the rules are due by October 5, 2012.
The rules identify four primary areas of legal changes: (1) conversion of the United States patent system from a "first to invent" system to a "first inventor to file" system; (2) treating U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications as prior art as of their earliest effective filing date, regardless of whether the earliest effective filing date is based upon an application filed in the U.S. or in another country; (3) eliminating the requirement that a prior public use or sale be "in this country" to be a prior art activity; and (4) treating commonly owned or joint research agreement patents and patent application publications as being by the same inventive entity for purposes of 35 U.S.C. 102, as well as 35 U.S.C. 103.