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Overview of Prior User Rights Study
From: Mary Critharis, Senior Level Patent Attorney and Prior User Rights Study Leader
The recently-enacted Leahy Smith America Invents Act introduces a number of fundamental changes to US patent law. In addition to changing the US system from first-to-invent to first-inventor-to-file, the new law also expands the scope of the existing prior user rights regime set forth in 35 U.S.C. 273 to apply to all inventions, not merely those related to methods of doing business. While this approach to prior user rights is similar to that applied in many countries throughout the world, it represents a new concept in US law. In light of this change, Congress has mandated the USPTO to undertake a study and report on prior user rights by January 16, 2012. Congress has identified, in particular, the following issues for study:
Pursuant to this mandate, the USPTO will be hosting a public hearing on October 25, from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM in the USPTO Madison Auditorium to gather input on these and related issues. Written comments will also be accepted. More information can be found in the USPTO Federal Register notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-07/html/2011-26154.htm and here for a PDF version.
As the PTO leader of the prior user rights study, I encourage members of the public, and especially those with experience with prior user rights regimes in other countries, to attend the hearing and/or to submit comments. Your input is invaluable to the agency in preparing our report for Congress.
Posted at 12:00AM Oct 14, 2011 in Studies/Reports |