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In 1999, Congress passed the American Inventors Protection Act (AIPA), which provided, among other provisions, that U.S. patent applications would be published 18 months after filing. This provision was designed to bring the U.S. patent process into harmonization with patent procedures in other major world markets, including Europe and Japan. It was also said to be necessary in order to prevent inventors from intentionally delaying issuance of patents until markets developed, a scheme often described as “submarine” patenting.

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