President Barack Obama has just signed into law on Friday, September 16, 2011, the America Invents Act. A number of provisions take effect immediately, while others will become effective over time. Of more immediate concern, the America Invents Act will increase fees automatically on September 26, 2011. Specifically, The America Invents Act imposes a 15% surcharge on most fees (see Summary below), which takes effect after 10 days and lasts until the Director of the USPTO sets his own fees. Thus, consider filing any documents with the USPTO before September 26, 2011 to avoid the 15% surcharge, and preferably by September 23 as September 26 is a Monday. Such fees include, but not limited to the filing or payment of:
a. new utility or provisional or PCT patent applications;
b. extensions of time;
c. Notices of Appeal and appeals;
d. issue fees; and
e. maintenance fees.
Other provisions that are effective immediately relate to defenses of infringement based on earlier patent; change of default venue; best mode requirement no longer a basis to render claims invalid in court cases; limiting the situations to be able to bring false marking actions; and jurisdiction and procedural changes.
For additional information on the effective dates and the projected increases, please see Effective Dates For Patent Reform (posted September 13, 2011). For a summary of the America Invents Act, including discussions on the major revisions which become effective either one year or 18 months from such as post-grant review; changes to 35 USC §102 and what constitutes prior art; and changing from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, please see Feature Comment: An Overview of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 (Posted July 8, 2011). Additional details will be posted on the SteinMcEwenBlawg in the future.