By: Mark R. Malek
I was reading through my daily update this morning from Patently-O and noticed a bulletin that the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has changed it’s name to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Dennis Crouch indicated that this information was obtained from this alert.
This is just one of the many change that is coming from the America Invents Act (AIA). The change is not due to a desire to have a different name. Not by a long shot. This is a product of the First to File system that is coming into place. Interferences were a tool that currently can be used by inventors when two different entities invented the same thing at around the same time. In short, when two applications were pending that were directed to the same invention, one party can request that an “interference” be declared. After an interference is declared, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) would determine who was the “first to invent.”
Well, the AIA does away with “first to invent” and moves the United States to a “first to file” system. In that case, we don’t need interferences any more. The protection goes to the inventor that filed their application first. Yes, yes, I am very much so simplifying this, but I just wanted to let you know that this is more than just a desire to change names. The PTAB will still be carrying out many of the other functions that the BPAI carried out, i.e., appeals of Examiner’s decisions, appeals of reexaminations, inter partes review, post grant review, etc.
Many of these changes are set to take effect on September 16, 2012. Here at the firm, the patent department is gearing up for the changes. I will be posting more on what inventors need to be on the lookout for as many of the provisions of AIA are implemented.