The US Patent Law changed in 2013 to a “First To File” – how will this affect inventors and small business? Watch this video to find out.

The “First To File” Patent Law and what inventors and small businesses need to know

Read the transcript.

Today I’m going to talk about the “New” Patent Law. Now when I say “New” patent law, this patent law actually took effect back in 2013. But by patent law standard which have hardly changed over the past 200 years, this still qualifies as a “new” patent law.

Read more about changes to the patent law on the US PTO website.

Why should you care about the “First To File” patent law?

You don’t want to read about patent laws, right? You have an invention and just want to file a patent application. Well, there are a couple of reasons you need to know about this patent law, and how it affects you, and how it could even prevent you from getting a patent.

The most important provision under this patent law is what’s called the “First To File” provisions. It used to always be that the United States was a “First To Invent” patent system. That meant that if you invented something today, and somebody else invented the same thing a month from now, even if that person filed their patent application before you, you could go to the Patent Office and tell them you invented first and that you should be entitled to the patent, that opportunity existed.

But that’s all changed now.

“First To Invent” no longer applies to new patent applications.

So if you think you’re just going to do the “Poor Man’s Patent Application” – where you think of an invention, write it down and mail it to yourself – that won’t work any more.  Everyone is under the new patent law now.

If you think of an idea first, but someone else files before you – even by one day – you’re out of luck. Whoever files first is the one that gets the patent. Now that may seem unfair – can’t big companies file patent applications every day? Yes, they can. Can you do that? Probably not unless you have a huge budget.

What can you do? Talk to a patent attorney as soon as possible. There are options available for you – including filing a provisional patent application as quickly as possible to lock in  your filing date. File as soon as you have an invention that’s worth patenting.

Does the provisional patent application count under the “First To File” patent law? Yes, and you may want to consider this. You can even file more than one provisional patent application.

I hope that this answered the question “What changes in the patent law mean for inventors and small business?”