US Differences from the EPO

Because the US is such an important market it is well worth listing separately the special conditions that apply to their patents versus the EPO.

1. Inventors. All US patents must be filed in the names of the inventors. Assignment to the company can subsequently be done.

2. Prior Art. For the EPO this is anything made public by anyone, anywhere. In the US you can still file a patent up to one year after public disclosure by the inventor. All known prior art must be disclosed; failure to do so will render the patent invalid.

3. Competing Applications. For the EPO patent rights belong to the first to file. In the US it is the first to invent, decided by assessment in interference proceedings. Hence the importance of keeping accurate dated records of work leading to the invention, e.g. laboratory notebooks.

4. Technical disclosure. Has to be detailed enough to meet the US sufficiency requirements, and the best example must be described.

5. Publication. There is only one and that is when the patent is granted.

6. Filing Procedures. In the US there is the opportunity to re-file an improved or supplemental application.

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