Last year’s passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) promised significant changes to the Patent Act, but the effect of those changes remains to be seen – largely because the most sweeping revisions have not yet taken effect. Though the AIA was signed on September 16, 2011, there have been few changes in the patent process. Fees have been raised, a reserve fund has been created, and much research has begun. However, many revisions are still inchoate, and require a bureaucratic process of meetings, reports, and recommendations.
In January of this year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) released two AIA-mandated reports. The first report is titled “International Patent Protections for Small Businesses,” and it analyzes the value of foreign patents for startups. Though hardly a sliver of the coming overhaul of the Patent Act, the report is an interesting study in one element of the AIA’s perceived role in stimulating a still-flagging economy. Continue reading