msmoriarty writes "As you probably heard, on Friday the Obama administration signed the America Invents Act, which changed our system to 'first to file.' Support for the bill itself was split in the tech industry: Microsoft and IBM (among others) supported the act, Google and Apple opposed it. Redmondmag asked a patent attorney to explain in detail the act and what impact he thinks it will have on the tech industry. According to him, there are still many open questions. From the article: 'The Act has not accomplished [first to file] harmonization in a straightforward or unambiguous way. For example, it is not clear whether a prior use or offer for sale of an invention by an inventor or joint inventor within a year of the date of filing would render the invention unpatentable.' He also said that the act clearly favors larger corporations, and he doubts it will speed up the patent process itself, which was one of its intended benefits."
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