Congress  has  essentially  asked  the  U.S.  Patent  and  Trademark  Office  an  impossible question: What would happen if prior user rights were implemented in the United States? More concretely, it has asked as to the impact of this defense on innovation, and as to non-U.S. implementations of prior user rights.  But problems exist with both approaches.  Future innovation rates are hard to predict.   Foreign data may be hard to gather comprehensively. Moreover,  the  application  of  prior  user  rights  in  exogenous  procedural  environments  (i.e., foreign  courts)  may  be  misleading.  A  better  approach  is  to  comprehensively  gather empirical data on U.S. doctrinal analogues, including prior inventorship rights.

This project was conceived by Professor Mark Lemley; and commissioned and financed by the Coalition for Patent Fairness (“CPF”).  Lex Machina, Inc. conducted an empirical study investigating  the  empirical  incidence  of  litigation  merits  determinations  surrounding  35 U.S.C.  §102(g)(2),  which  the  Leahy-Smith  America  Invents  Act  (the  “Act”)  replaces,  in part, with the prior user rights defense.  Id.  The CPF took no part in data analysis.

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