Mountain View, CA (September 19, 2011) – Fenwick & West Special IP Counsel Colleen Chien, a published author, scholar and expert on U.S. and international patent law, attended President Obama's signing of the long-awaited patent-reform law on Sept. 16 in Alexandria, VA.
The new law, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, makes incremental progress in reforming the complex and unwieldy patent-law system – though most observers, including Ms. Chien, say it is not as comprehensive as it could have been.
The biggest change in the law is to move the U.S. from a system that awards patents to the "first to invent" a product to one which awards patents primarily to the "first to file" – the way patents work internationally. The law also curtails a bit the ability of companies that try to sue for outdated or incorrect patent number markings, and found some new ways to handle patent disputes.
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