As of March 16, 2013 the new first-to-file rule under the America Invents Act will be implemented by the Patent Office. This change – from the previous first-to-invent rule – grants patent rights to the first person who files a patent application on an invention before the USPTO, rather than the first inventor.
To preserve first-to-invent rights applicants should consider filing patent applications prior to the March 16 deadline. If completing and filing a regular patent application is not feasible, as an alternative, applicants may file provisionally prior to the deadline to establish a priority date prior to the change.
Since any claim in a subsequently filed patent application not supported by the earlier-filed provisional will not be entitled to the existing first-to-invent law, applicants should take care to submit as comprehensive a disclosure as possible in pre-March 16 applications.