Thursday, December 13, 2012
As we warned in our last posting, it is now time to seriously consider shifting strategies and begin filing provisional applications shortly after realizing that an idea might have commercial potential.
On March 16, 2013 the new first-to-file patent system begins in the U.S. That means whoever files an application first (be it a provisional or non-provisional application) will be entitled to the patent even if they invented it after you. There are exceptions of course. For instance, if they stole the idea from you ("derived" it from you), theoretically, you can prevent them from obtaining the patent. But, proving that will likely require lengthy and expensive legal proceedings. Instead of suffering that fate, file a provisional application and follow it up with a regular non-provisional application with reasonable promptness (a few months should suffice for most situations).
We also have noted that Patent Attorneys and the Patent Office web servers will likely be quite busy in March. This might result in heavy traffic on these servers resulting in an inability (or delays) for your Attorney to file your application then. Accordingly, we suggest that now is the time to act. True, you'll be committing to filing an application a bit earlier than the new law requires. But you will also be managing the risk of not being the first to file in a more prudent fashion.
If you would like more information about provisional applications, the new first-to-file system, or us, we at the Villhard Patent Group would be happy to speak with you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 897-0399. Our website is at www.villhardpatents.com.