Patent Rules Change On March 16th 2013
The USPTO was flooded with about five times as many applications on the week ending on March 15, 2013. Ordinarily, the Patent Office receives an average of 7,205 applications per week. On this mid-March week, the office received a staggering 34,112 patent applications in anticipation of the new rules.
The American Invents Act, enacted in 2011, designated March 16, 2013 as the day when the patent rules change. The American patent system has previously been a first-to-invent country while the rest of the world is on a first-to-file system. Now that the American rules have changed, the Patent Office will award a patent to the first inventor to file an application on an invention. For any applications filed prior to March 16, 2013, an inventor may use the date they conceived of an invention as the priority date against challenges.