The America Invents Act (AIA) is patent reform legislation that has been enacted in a series of steps. The most significant change resulting from the AIA occurred on March 16, when the U.S. patent system converted from a "first to invent" system into a "first to file" system. The transition from first-to-invent to a first-to-file system means that both the laws that govern the first-to-invent system (or pre-AIA rules) and the laws that govern the first-to-file system (or post-AIA rules) will exist simultaneously for more than 20 years, and which set of rules governs the prosecution of a patent application depends on the application’s filing date.
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