USPTO says some of the key provisions of the AIA include:
· Transitioning the U.S. to a first-to-file system.
· Providing an enhanced grace period for inventors to safeguard patent rights against disclosures made by inventors made one year or less before the effective filing date, which allows inventors to engage in crucial negotiations with potential buyers or investors without fear of losing their right to a patent. (true only for publications)
· Consistent with international norms, the definition of prior art now includes non-printed disclosures, including oral disclosures, made available to the public anywhere in the world.
· Providing prior art effect to US patent applications as of their foreign priority dates, thus eliminating the Hilmer doctrine.
· Eliminating the requirement for inventors to set forth the best mode to carry out the invention as a defense in infringement actions or in post grant review.
· Providing 75% discount for patent fees to all applicants that qualify as micro entities.
Because the United States was a first to invent country for hundreds of years, many people became accustomed to the grace period of one year. In a radical departure from tradition, the United States is no longer a first to invent country.