As reported in this blog , the America Invents Act (AIA) is the most significant change to the US patent system in 60 years. Over the next several weeks, the blog will be addressing various aspects of the Act.
David Kappos, director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently testified before Congress about implementation of the Act.
Kappos was joined by representatives of technology companies and IP associations, including spokespeople for Eli Lilly and Company, General Electric (on behalf of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform), 3M (on behalf of the Intellectual Property Owners Association), the University of Michigan (on behalf of the Association of American Universities), and the Business Software Alliance.
Parts of the AIA have been in effect since it was enacted in September, 2011. Other important upcoming dates include:
- July 13, 2012: First USPTO satellite office opens in Detroit, Michigan
- September 16, 2012: procedures for post-grant review, supplemental examination, and inter partes review become effective
- March 16, 2013: “First inventor to file” and provisions dealing with derivation proceedings go into effect
Kappos testified that inventors are already seeing the benefits of the AIA. He said that the USPTO’s accelerated examination program that allows some patent applications to be processed in 12 months has received 3,500 applications and that his office has started evaluating 1,900 of them.
Kappos reported that the USPTO has reduced its backlog of patent applications for utility patents to 640,491, which he said was “the lowest level in several years despite significant increases in filings last year and this year.”
Kappos said that it takes his office about 34 months to finish a review of a patent application. He agreed with lawmakers that this is too long and said that the USPTO is working to reduce the delay.
More information about AIA implementation is here.