Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Open Letter To Congress: Re-Instate One-Year, On-Sale, Grace Period

Dear Member of Congress:

The purpose of this letter is to ask you to re-instate the one-year grace period for filing patent applications following an offer for sale of a product/service incorporating an otherwise patentable idea.

The transition of the U.S. to a first-to-file nation grabbed most of the headlines when the America Invents Act (AIA) came into full force on March 16, 2013.  However, a lesser-known provision might have far larger consequences than first-to-file. Most legal commentators seem to agree that the AIA eliminated the one-year grace period following an offer for sale. 

Those of us who speak before entrepreneur groups have watched as audience members become dismayed when they hear of the grace-period’s elimination.  After all, these entrepreneurs cannot wait to sell their innovative products.  Their investors want to see the associated revenue and, no doubt, the entrepreneurs’ families are hungry for the money too.

Moreover, our society desperately needs the jobs that these innovators create.  Four years into this anemic recovery, these entrepreneurs are leading the way.  Many got hit with layoffs during the Great Recession.  Yet, they dusted themselves off, came up with great ideas, and moved purposefully to market – employing themselves and others along the way.  They played by the rules and now this particular rule stands against them.

Many, in their zeal, did not know of the elimination of the grace period.  And, now, they have companies that have little or no chance of obtaining meaningful intellectual property protection.  This situation, of course, means that they can be ripped off and their companies will fail taking those jobs and their dreams with it.  

Accordingly, we are asking you to re-instate the grace period for on sale activities, make it retroactive to March 15, 2013, and do it now.

Thank You.

We at the Villhard Patent Group ask you to reproduce this letter and send it to your Representatives and Senators and to the President.  You can identify your Representative and Senators and obtain their mailing addresses here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.  The President, of course, can be reached at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C.  20500.

Also, while we discourage spam as a rule, we’re willing to run the risk this time and would appreciate it if you could forward a link to this article to your fellow entrepreneurs. 

We at the Villhard Patent Group would be happy to discuss your intellectual property issues with you.  You can find more information about us at www.villhardpatents.com and you can contact us at (512) 897-0399 or at contact@villhardpatents.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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