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IP Today: The Big Secret of the America Invents Act


NEW YORK, December 20, 2011 -- In the December issue of IP Today, Baker Botts lawyer Rob Maier discusses the “big secret” of the recently enacted Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. President Obama signed the act into law on September 16, 2011, bringing to an end years of hard work, lobbying, politics, and a Congressional Record dating back several Congresses to 2005.

The goals of the act as reflected in Senator Leahy’s comments to Congress, Maier notes in his article, were to “improve the application process by transitioning to a first inventor-to-file system; improve the quality of patents issued by the USPTO by introducing several quality enhancement measures; and provide more certainty in litigation.”

While these stated goals all appeared to hinge on improvements in our patent system, many of the provisions – upon closer inspection and in light of the legislative history – may have different motivations and effects altogether, perhaps influenced in part by the political climate, the timing of the election cycle, and America’s loss of manufacturing and jobs and struggle to compete in the world economy.

In effect, some of the most potent changes in the AIA may do less to strengthen our patent laws and more to incentivize trade secrets.

The complete IP Today article is available here.

Rob Maier’s bio is available here.

Background information about the firm’s IP practice is available here.


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