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:
- 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.
- 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.