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The America Invents Act and Nanotechnology
Volume 8, Issue 4

Francisco Castro

Hopes are high that the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), passed in 2011 will bring efficiency and predictability into the patent process, benefiting American entrepreneurs and companies, and offering cost-effective alternatives to patent litigation. The Act purports to provide the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the resources and tools to fulfill its charter effectively. Much work remains to be done, however, in terms of crafting the appropriate implementing regulations, and testing the gray areas in U.S. courts before the full impact of the legislation can be known. Just how the AIA will affect the nanotechnology community remains to be seen. However, by carefully examining certain provisions, nanotechnology practitioners can begin to prepare for this new patent environment. This article describes four major changes: first-to-invent to first-inventor-to-file, new fees and micro-entity status, expanded post-grant review options, and as yet unknown effects on the licensing strategies of non-practicing entities. Since the details of the AIA’s implementation are still in flux, nanotechnology entities must be diligent to keep abreast of current changes.

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