Document Type


Publication Date





This article begins by discussing the first-to-file and first-to-invent approaches to inventions. Next, the article describes how each of the two systems defines “prior art” and argues that employing the first-to-invent approach has two problems: a lack of incentive to file early and difficulty in advising an inventor about what qualifies as prior art. In the United States, something counts as prior art “[i]f the publication date is more than one year before the actual filing date.” The article concludes that Europe would benefit from adding a grace period because it would make the system fairer and create more similarity between the European and American systems “without creating an unacceptable level of uncertainty.”

GW Paper Series

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-23; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-23

Included in

Law Commons