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SPECIAL SUMMARY REPORT

THE GREAT DEBATE

FIRST-TO-INVENT vs. FIRST-TO-FILE

and the

INTERNATIONAL HARMONIZATION TREATY





TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Important
Instructions
for: Duplication,
Distribution, Use of
Information


Introduction

I.
Credits


II.
Foreword


III.
WSJ Article


IV.
Synopsis-Europe
Legislation


V.
Synopsis-U.S.
Legislation


VI.
Key Questions
#1 / #2 / #3 / #4
#5 / #6 / #7 / #8
#9 / #10 / #11 / #12 #13 / #14 / #15

VII.
Arguments & Rebuttals
At-A-Glance


VIII.
Closing Comments &
Recommendations


IX.
Notes



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  • IV. KEY QUESTIONS: #11

    IS THE U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE (USPTO OR PTO) IN SUPPORT OF THE HARMONIZATION TREATY, AND SPECIFICALLY OF THE "FIRST-TO-FILE" CHANGE? IF SO, WHAT JUSTIFICATION DOES THE PTO HAVE TO CHANGE OUR SYSTEM?

    The present administration proposal to change the U.S. patent system to "First-to-File" arises in the guise of Harmonization of the world's patent laws.

    Harmonization of patent laws is good. The problem lies in that the Japanese and Europeans insist that the U.S. sacrifice its unique, successful, 200-year old "First-to-Invent" system before they change their patent practices.

    Reacting to the pressure of these foreign countries and U.S. multinational corporations, the PTO has been taking swift steps in order to convert the U.S. system and proceed with the Harmonization Treaty. For the specifics, please refer to the "Synopsis for European Legislation" and "Synopsis for United States Legislation".

    The present administration rationalizes its position by arguing that improvements would result in the U.S. Patent System, for instance:

    • costly "interferences" will be eliminated
    • a "worldwide grace period" will be granted to inventors
    • inventors will have "prior user rights"
    • a "provisional application" will be available
    • it will put the U.S. on an even footing with other countries
    • it will give inventors rights to gain patents in countries whose patent laws currently impede U.S. applicants
    • a patent term of 20 years from the date of application
    • it will eliminate "secret prior art"
    • patent applications will be published 18 months after being filed
    • inventors won't have to keep detailed records
    For specifics on each of these points, please refer to the "Arguments and Rebuttals At-A-Glance" section on page 35.

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