Attention Inventors: New USPTO Patent Filing and Maintenance Rules Now in Effect
Jose Landivar, Arther Law’s Industry Insider
This past Monday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published final rules in the Federal Register updating procedures for filing and processing patent applications. Supporters of the changes say that the new rules will serve to harmonize U.S. patent and filing statutes with two treaties, the Patent Law treaty and the Hague Agreement, signed more than 20 years ago.
The new rules published:
- Changes and lessens the requirements for a patent application on the date it’s filed.
- Eliminates language employing the term “unavoidable” delay when trying to revive and restore abandoned patent applications and when making late maintenance fee payments
- Reintroduces the “right of priority” for foreign patent applications – entitling a U.S. patent application to the earlier filing date of an application previously filed overseas.
The new rules in effect make it easier for one-stop shopping between U.S. patent filing and international countries that have signed on to the treaties and will theoretically liberalize the patent filing and updating process.
Additionally, the USPTO made other miscellaneous changes on Monday including:
- Supplemental patent examination procedure
- Changes to the inventor’s oath or declaration
- Changes to the first inventor to file provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
The new rules and changes do not come without criticism (much of it based on the shoulders of the America Invents Act signed into law in 2011) including some who believe that many of the new changes may benefit deep pocketed corporations who can more easily file their inventions and ensure compliance across international jurisdictions.
Most changes except the new filing requirements will apply to applications already on file and take effect on December 18.