Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012

By Dennis Crouch

It appears that the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 will soon become law. The U.S. Senate passed the bill earlier this year (S. 3486) by a unanimous vote and this morning the House passed the identical version in a voice vote. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law within the next two weeks.

The Bill provides the domestic legislation required to implement both: (1) The Hague Agreement Concerning International Registration of Industrial Designs ("Hague Agreement") and (2) The Patent Law Treaty ("PLT"). Both treaties were ratified by the Senate in 2007.

In discussing the pending bill last week, I wrote that the USPTO has lobbied for passage of this bill and provided the original draft legislation. 

On the industrial design front,  substantive elements of the changed law include (1) an extension of the design patent term by an additional year with the resulting term being fifteen years from issuance; (2) allowing applicants to include up to 100 different design inventions within a single international design application; and (3) creation of provisional rights as of the publication date of the international application. About 45 countries, including virtually all of Europe have signed-on to the Hague Agreement (Geneva Act).

A major change with regard to the patent law treaty is that the law would now allow for revival of unintentionally abandoned international applications.