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Effects of the New U.S. Patent System on the Academic Researcher

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. A main provision of this sweeping patent reform act will take effect on March 16, 2013, when U.S. patent law will change from the current “first-inventor-to-invent” system to a “first-inventor-to-file” system. The new system will harmonize U.S. patent law with the rest of the world.

A “first-to-file” patent system will require more vigilance on the part of researchers to ensure their intellectual property (inventions, technical data, and copyrightable works) is not publicly disclosed prior to filing for a patent. Public disclosure includes public demonstrations, presentations, and publications (in any form—print, web, etc.). Offers for sale of intellectual property are also considered public disclosure.

Nina Green, director of the Tufts Office for Technology Licensing and Industry Collaboration (OTL&IC), emphasizes that you should contact the OTL&IC “early and often” to ensure all the necessary actions are taken to protect a potential new technology.

For more information, please see http://techtransfer.tufts.edu.




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