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Filing a patent application is a key step in protecting the intellectual property of a company. As patent reform under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act becomes effective, the timing of patent application filing becomes even more important because the U.S. is changing from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. Under a first-to-file system, a dispute over who gets a patent when more than one party files a patent application directed to the same invention is generally resolved by comparing filing dates. Thus, having an early filing date is paramount.

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