Changes to US Patent Law - New Rules for Prior Art
There's a nice summary of the recent changes in U.S. patent law in the Jan. issue of Physics Today,
and their relevance to academic scientists and engineers. The American
Invents Act moves the U.S. from a first-to-invent system to a (modified)
first-to-file system. Under the pure first-to-file system used by most
countries, publication of an idea or invention prior to filing a patent
application will prevent an inventor from obtaining a patent. The AIA
retains a one-year grace period for publications authored by the
inventor (the inventor's own work) or derived from the inventor's work.
The article has a nice flowchart that explains how the one-year grace
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.