U.S. patent official Janet Gongola’s visit to Little Rock last week was an educational one for those who stopped by for a free, two-day patent workshop at the Arkansas State Library.
Gongola is the patent reform coordinator for the USPTO and she was in town to provide an overview of the America Invents Act. The legislation was signed into law last year and represents a significant overhaul of the U.S. patent system (the first major changes since 1952, actually).
Gongola is charged with spreading the word about patent reform (funny, how ‘patent reform’ conjures images of sun-soaked meadows and burbling brooks as opposed to say, health-care reform). She scampers about the country doing so, and last week did so at the ASL, the state’s only officially designated U.S. patent and trademark resource center.
Gongola was kind enough to sit down with INOV8 and explain how the new law transforms the U.S. from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, its most prominent change.
Her overview touched on other “patent reform” highlights, including the introduction of fees for patent “extras” such as fast tracking that will help offset the cost of hiring new patent examiners, which will in turn help eliminate the current patent backlog that stands at roughly 630,000 (that’s unexamined patent applications).
Fees will recover the aggregate estimated cost of operations for the USPTO only, and will be in effect for seven years.
Gongola noted that the U.S. Constitution is the only such document of its kind to include a clause devoted to intellectual property (U…S…A). With that in mind, here are some high points from Gongola’s presentation:
These are just some of the changes. All of them are outlined in detail at USPTO.gov/AmericaInventsAct.
(And of course, be sure to check out IA’s Arkansas patent database.)