U.S. patent laws are changing to align with the rest of the world. These changes have a direct effect on protecting your research discoveries, intellectual property, publication timing, and future commercialization. 

Here’s what every researcher needs to know:

  1. Rule Change: From “FIRST-TO-INVENT” to “FIRST-TO-FILE.”
  • Effect:   Protection for discoveries or parallel-discoveries by different research teams will go to whichever inventor files a patent first.  Research notebooks with invention dates may no longer be relevant in most cases. 
  1. Rule Change: FIRST-TO-FILE
  • Effect:   Patent filing at the earliest possible date will be key in successful discovery protection.
  • Effect:   “Prior art” is all the information that legally existed before an application for the claimed invention was filed. Prior art can make an application or patent filed later un-patentable or invalid. This now includes foreign public prior art as well as your own papers, presentations and web-sites.
  1. Rule Change: LOSS OF GRACE PERIOD
  • Effect:   Publication or other public release of a discovery (even if accidental) will no longer be allowed. Previously a one year grace period was allowed in the U.S.

Best tactic:  Disclose discoveries to the UIRF early, and don’t publish or present before Disclosing.  For more information contact the University Research Foundation