The United States patent system has undergone significant change within the last few years. In particular, it has transitioned from a first to invent system to a first to file system. Some commentators have suggested that such change is an attempt to further “harmonize” the U.S. patent system with other patent systems of the world, such as the one in Europe.
However, a close analysis of the disparate disclosure requirements in the United States and Europe demonstrates that such harmonization is incomplete. Indeed, a number of patent practitioners regularly must plan for and address the significant “sufficiency of disclosure” differences that exist between these two systems when drafting and prosecuting patent applications, and enforcing patents. This is especially problematic for patent families in which such cases are prosecuted in the United States and Europe with the same or similar specification and claims.
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