Courtenay Brinckerhoff: What Happens When Interfering Applications Straddle The First-To-File Effective Date?

The following article comes from Courtenay C. Brinckerhoff, Partner at Foley & Lardner and writer of PharmaPatents Blog

It has been a while since I’ve taken an in-depth look at the first-to-file provisions of the America Invents Act. This interesting fact pattern comes from Andrea Levesque, IP Counsel at ARC Energy, and relates to the interference provisions that survive the general March 16, 2013 effective date of the first-to-file provisions.

The March 16, 2013 Effective Date

As I wrote previously, one of the more complex aspects of the America Invents Act relates to the effective date and applicability of the first-to-file provisions of new 35 USC § 102. As a general rule, applications with any claim that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013 will be subject to the new version of § 102. On the other hand, applications with any claim that has an earlier effective filing date still will be subject to the current versions of 35 USC §§ 102(g), 135 and 291: (more…)

The Disharmonious Loss Of The Hilmer Doctrine

The following analysis of  the new 35 USC § 102(a)(2) provision in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act eliminating the Hilmer doctrine and giving prior art effect to U.S. patent applications as of their foreign filing dates comes from Courtenay Brinckerhoff ,writer of PharmaPatents Blog and Partner at Foley & Lardner.

Here is an excerpt from the article originally published on Pharma Patents:

One of the many changes included in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act relates to the date that a U.S. patent application is effective as prior art. While eliminating the Hilmer doctrine and giving prior art effect to U.S. patent applications as of their foreign priority dates might seem to be a step towards international harmonization, it actually may widen the gulf between the U.S. and the rest of world. (more…)

Deciphering the America Invents Act

President Obama’s signing of the America Invents Act on Friday, September 16th, has instigated an enormous amount of discussion in the patent community and rightly so.   The new law contains several provisions that will become effective within days, as well as others that will require rulemaking and time to implement.  Given the complexity of the legislation, I thought it would be helpful to search the web for analysis of the significant changes to U.S. Patent Law and how it will impact your patent practice.

1. America Invents Act Exercises “Con-Troll” Over Patent Litigation (IPWatchdog)

2. Patent Law Reform Update 2011 (COJK Law firm memo)

3. USPTO Post Grant Cheat Sheet (Patents Post Grant)

4. USPTO Fee Increase Effective September 26TH (Patent Law Practice Center)

5. Major reform of US patent law: the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (Association of Corp Counsel) (more…)

What Patent Reform Means for Retailers: 4 Key Provisions of the America Invent Act

With the imminent enactment of the America Invents Act (AIA) into law, the patent experts are examining the legislation and helping us understand how it will impact the patent community at large.  R. David Donoghue, Partner at Holland & Knight and Practice Center Contributor, recently posted on his Retail Patent Litigation blog an article discussing how the bill will impact retailers and their supply chains.  He highlights four key provisions of the America Invents Act for retailers:

  1. Smaller Patent Troll Suits: The most immediate impact on most retailers will be Section 19, limiting joinder in a single suit of unrelated parties. This is not the more extreme restrictions on venue or joinder that many had hoped for. But it will have some positive impact on patent troll litigation. For suits filed on or after the date of enactment, plaintiffs will only be able to join related parties in a single suit — for example, multiple manufacturers, distributors or resellers of an identical product. And while cases against unrelated parties could still be joined for discovery, they will not be able to be joined for trial. At first glance, this is not much of a barrier to entry for patent trolls. Very few defendants get to trial, and cases may still be consolidated for discovery purposes at the court’s discretion. Where a troll today could pay one $300 filing fee and sue 100 unrelated defendants, after enactment that same troll would have to file 100 suits and pay $30,000 in filing fees. $30,000, however, is dwarfed by the settlement demands in many cases. The hassle of filing the extra suits and the related filing fees, however, may be enough to prevent suits against some of the much smaller entities that almost always end up in these suits. And the requirement of separate suits will allow defendants a much greater ability to seek transfer to an appropriate venue. So, while this is not the sea change that many sought, it is a real benefit to retailers who are tired of being sued in Texas and want a better shot at transferring cases. This Section only applies to cases filed after enactment, not pending cases. So, existing cases will not be impacted. (more…)

Senate Passes House Patent Reform Bill (H.R. 1249)-President Now Expected to Sign!

The United States Senate passed the America Invents Act on September 8, 2011 by a vote of 89-9.  The bill will now be forwarded on to the White House for President Obama’s signature, upon which the law is officially enacted. Our friends at Foley & Lardner sent in this article highlighting key changes to the U.S. patent system that will be brought about by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

On September 8, 2011, by a vote of 89-9, the Senate approved the House version of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), leaving only President Obama’s signature as the final step to make patent reform a reality (he has already stated he is ready to sign this bill). Prior to the final vote, the Senate voted to reject or table all amendments, avoiding the need to send the bill back to the House for consideration. This vote means that the final text of the new law is that found in H.R. 1249 as passed by the House on June 23, 2011. Further information on the Act can be found at

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act makes the most sweeping changes to U.S. patent law in many decades, including moving the U.S. towards a first-to-file system, expanding prior user rights as a defense to infringement, eliminating interference proceedings, and creating new USPTO proceedings for post-grant review. While many provisions of the law will not take effect for at least one year after the date of enactment, several key provisions have an immediate effect, and many provisions will have a retroactive effect after their phase-in. (See Foley’s PharmaPatentsBlog for a more detailed review of different effective dates). (more…)