If changes are made to a longtime piece of American law, a race to the patent office could be on, and North Carolina attorneys may be swept up in the pursuit.
For several years, attempts at national patent reform have failed, but this year, it appears Congress has the votes to significantly change the way Americans secure patents.
Under the current "first to invent" patent law, when inventors have an idea, they have the opportunity to work on it in depth, reduce it to practice, then file it with the patent office, as they know their idea is safe if they're able to prove they discovered it first. If the law changes to a "first inventor to file" system, which most of the rest of the world employs, an invention still has to meet the requirements of patentability, but the person who first files a patent application gets the patent.
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