Under first-to-file, an inventor who does not take prompt action to protect his or her invention faces a higher risk that a later inventor will end up holding the associated U.S. patent rights.
“The United States has long had a “first-to-invent” patent system in which the date of invention could trump the date of filing a patent application in determining patent rights. However, that is set to change due to the America Invents Act (AIA), a sweeping patent reform bill signed into law by President Obama in September 2011.
For patent applications with an effective filing date of March 16, 2013 or later, the United States shifts to what is often – and only partially accurately – called a “first-inventor-to-file” or “first-to-file” system. The reality is more complex than those designations imply, as patent rights in the United States under the first-to-file system will depend on the interplay between the dates of filing and of any pre-filing disclosures of the invention…”
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