School of Law News

The Entrepreneurial University

Posted Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship hosted a conference titled "The Entrepreneurial University." The keynote speaker, Chief of Staff at the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrew Hirshfeld '93, discussed "The U.S. Patent System – Past and Future."

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He explained that “under the current system, which is a first to invent system, priority is based on the date of invention. Date of invention is somewhat ambiguous, it could be by people’s notes that they have. It is not something that is out in the public. It is not something a competitor could look at a patent application and say ‘I know what their date of invention is.’ So it’s really a difficult term. Under the first to file system which will go in place in March 2013, we will now look to the effective filing date, it's much more easy to understand, easy to see, and puts everybody on a level playing field.”

Hirshfeld went on to say that “first to file is somewhat of a misnomer, it’s not what people initially associate it with, it’s not just a race to the patent office. It’s my opinion that as time goes on and there is more of an educational component, people will be much more comfortable with this new system and realize that this is not only cheaper, but more objective, its quicker, its faster, its much more certain.”

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