Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2 key insights from the patent-approval overhaul

Starting last fall and stretching through mid-2013, the U.S. has been overhauling the patent-approval process for the first time since 1952.

The biggest change:

Our first-to-invent system, which favors creators, will become a first-to-file system, which favors whoever files first.

Uncle Sam says the reform will speed innovation. Experts checked the numbers in a recent article in FAST COMPANY.  There were two particular insights relevant to brand innovators:
  1. GOOD FOR INNOVATION—Shorter average patent wait time. 34 months and going down. Startups that qualify for the new fast-track option get their patents reviewed in as little as 12 months, which makes it easier to bring their products to market.
  2. BAD FOR INNOVATION—Fewer patents issued to noncorporate inventors. 31,923 in 2010 and going down. When Canada switched to a first-to-file system in 1989, the race to file intensified--and individual inventors were put at a disadvantage (compared to big firms with lots of resources). A similar scenario could play out in the U.S.
You can read the full analysis at www.fastcompany.com/magazine


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