In an IPLaw360
article discussing The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) unveiling of final rules governing the first-to-file patent system that will go into effect in March, Jason Cooper
was quoted as saying the proposed rules seemed to be overly restrictive and made it difficult for inventors to take advantage of the grace period. "The proposal that the disclosures would need to use exactly the same language was odd because it would never happen that way," he said. "The odds that a third party would use the same language as you would be very slim."
The article goes on to report that, though the new system takes effect March 16, an application claiming priority to the filing date of an application filed prior to March 16 can be examined under the current rules. The USPTO stated that if an application claiming an earlier filing date contains any claim that has an effective filing date after March 16, the applicant must notify the USPTO and the application will be examined under the new rules.
“The rules put the burden on the applicant to tell the patent office if your application falls under the new rules," Cooper said. "People will have to think long and hard about whether to check that box."