America Invents Act (AIA)

On 16 September 2011 President Obama was “pleased to sign the America Invents Act”, a “much-needed reform.” Supporters also see the AIA as reducing the patent litigation cost burden on U.S. businesses ($500 billion since 1990 per a Boston University survey), as creating as many as 200,000 new jobs, and as streamlining the patent application process. My question is, specifically how? Critics feel free to weigh in.

False Patent Marking: a Meteoric Rise and Fall

Latin phrases ring of foreboding, especially when spoken by a lawyer or a priest. If I had walked into the offices of corporate counsel three years ago and shouted the words “QUI TAM” I would have been forcibly ejected (even though very few would have known the English translation). The full Latin phrase is qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, which means “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.” Qui Tam laws give private citizens a public cause of action, for a bounty.

The best-known source of Qui Tam lawsuits is the False Claims Act, known as the “Lincoln Law” at 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733. The Lincoln Law was enacted back in the Civil War to fight fraud by Union Army vendors. To date, total recoveries under the False Claims Act exceed $28 billion dollars, (more…)

America Invents Act (H.R. 1249): Patent Reform is Here!

On September 8, 2011, the Senate approved the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249). President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law any day now. This patent reform Act makes significant changes to United States patent law, including moving us closer to a first-to-file system. Some parts of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act will be phased in a year from now, and other parts take effect immediately.  See an overview of Key Changes below.

As always, your comments, questions or constructive criticisms are most welcome.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Roy Craig

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