In-ven-tor  n.  a person who invents

As we continue our review of Senate Bill 23 - Patent Reform Act of 2011 - a key definition to keep in mind is that of Inventor.  Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, the 4.5 inch thick paper version no less, offers the following definition: In-ven-tor  n.  a person who invents, esp. one who devises some new process, appliance, machine, or article; one who makes inventions.

Simple right?

For the power to grant inventor status we look to another document, the United States Constitution. Article 1, Section 8 (Powers of Congress), Clause 8 reads as follows:

The Congress shall have Power...

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to

Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

One word stands out in this, Discoveries. No need for another definition here as it is clear that discoveries does not include any requirement for being the first one to file a patent with the USPTO to be deemed an Inventor. The new First-to-File (FTF) provision of S.23 will in fact add this very stipulation without modification to the US Constitution as defined here.

This has far reaching, and as yet not fully clear, effects on invention, innovation, and how business is done in regards to "Progress of Science and useful Arts." And is the source of considerable debate even as the bill(s) are forming and winding their way through the government.

Given that the FTF provision is also touted to "harmonize" the United States with the rest of the world then there are examples of the FTF to be studied.  One review is provided by David E. Boundy and Matthew J. Marquardt that investigates the effects of the new Patent Reform, primarily, on small businesses, university inventors, independent inventors and investors in innovation.  Given that these entities utilize the current patent system differently than large corporations the changes will impact them more.

"The weak grace period of the Patent Reform Act is a very large risk to the most innovative sectors of the economy, with few if any objectively-demonstrated benefits."


Boundy & Marquardt, Patent Reform’s Weakened Grace Period: Its Effects On Startups, Small Companies, University Spin-Offs And Medical Innovators, "Medical Innovation & Business Journal, vol. 2 no. 2 (Summer 2010)


Some of what is being said can be found in the on comparison of the FTI vs FTF systems can be found in the following links:

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