The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is hitting the road with a traveling presentation to better educate inventors and intellectual property lawyers about the “First Inventor to File” provisions of the America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA).

Of all the changes that the AIA made to U.S. patent law, perhaps the most significant was the shift away from the traditional “first to invent” doctrine that had long governed the consideration of patent applications with regard to prior art. All patent applications filed after the implementation date of March 16, 2013, will be subject to a First Inventor to File criterion.

The shift from first-to-invent to first-to-file has required significant changes to policies and procedures for many IP-driven companies and intellectual property law firms. Many of those changes still are in progress, even 18 months after the implementation of the first-to-file standard.

Recognizing that some confusion and uncertainty lingered in the marketplace regarding the new standard and its requirements, the USPTO will hold public education sessions across the country to address some of the most common questions regarding prior art and patent prosecution under the new standard.

The first of the USPTO’s seven “roadshow” stops will take place on Sept. 16, 2014 in Concord, New Hampshire, at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. The Office held a similar series of successful AIA awareness presentations in 2012.

The half-day program will begin with a review of the implementation of the first inventor to file rule and its effects to date. That will be followed by an informational seminar on whether and how a given application would be subjected to the new standard. Particular focus will be given to the use of Application Data Sheets (ADS) as a tool for inventors to facilitate their patent applications under the new standard.

A mid-program intermission will be followed by additional seminars on how to respond to a prior art rejection and the effective use of evidentiary declarations.

One session will be at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, on Sept. 23, and one at its regional office in Denver, Colorado, on Oct. 2. Additional presentations will be held in Dallas and Atlanta as well as in Cupertino, California, and Madison, Wisconsin.


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