Three years on: what the new definition of prior art means today


Russell Dunlap

Three years on: what the new definition of prior art means today

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Three years after the America Invents Act changed the definition of prior art in the US, patent applicants, owners and practitioners still need to fully understand its meaning in order to successfully navigate the patent system. Russell Dunlap of Taylor English Duma reports.

On March 16, 2016, it will have been three years since the definition of prior art changed under the America Invents Act (AIA). Under the AIA, every application filed on or after March 16, 2013 is examined under a new standard for anticipation, unless the application has an effective filing date before this date. In essence, the passage of the AIA converted US patent law from a ‘first-to-invent’ to a ‘first-to-file’ system, thereby harmonising the US patent system with the rest of the world.

While the new language re-defining the meaning of “prior art” simplifies the analysis for prior art determinations in some respects, it additionally raises new questions and concerns that patent owners, applicants, and their attorneys must take into account. Three years under this new first-to-file regime have provided some answers on how the AIA has changed patent protection in the US, but numerous uncertainties remain, and those seeking patent protection for their inventions need to be aware of these uncertainties to avoid jeopardising their patent rights.

The new definition of prior art

Russell Dunlap, Taylor English Duma, AIA, Teva, patent, patent owner, USPTO, prior art, definition, America Invents Act,