Patent Law Changes Coming in December

Legal Compliance Resource
November 13, 2013 — 1,260 views  

The changes that have been made to the patent laws are to become effective on the 18th of December, 2013. Generally, when modified versions of laws are released a great amount of time is spent on minor changes. This time however, there are quite a few changes that have been made in order to make the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 (PLTIA) more clear and concise.

The PLTIA was put into law on the 18th of December in 2012, following which the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) published a revised final copy on October 21st of 2013. The most significant changes revolve around terms like ‘unavoidable’ and ‘unintentional’. While the former was used in the previous versions, claims have been made and it has been changed to the latter to make things more relaxed. Additionally, there have been a number of changes made to the rules regarding processing and filing.

Filing Date for Application of Non-Provisional Patents (Utility) Relaxed

Now, claims can be given in even after the final date for filing an application has passed. Earlier, such claims could be made only during the process. These claims will be accepted as long as the surcharge is paid. The value of the surcharge will be decided by the Director. If this amount is not paid in the due time however, the claims will be considered abandoned.

Regarding the filing date itself, now there has been a minor addition which clarifies things better. The date of specification is considered the filing date of the patent. The addition is that the filing process can take place irrespective of whether the individual has a claim or not. It just specifies the date that the USPTO receives the application.

Requirements for Filing Date of Subsequent Applications Relaxed

A subsequent application for filing a patent now requires a reference made of the first filing application by stating the number of the first filed application. The same authority on intellectual property and country that were involved in the processing of the original one must specify the drawings for the subsequent applications as well for it to receive a filing date. Without these, it is not possible to continue with the process of filing, which renders the application null. Within the specified period given, the applicant must also submit drawings and proof of the first application made.

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