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6 PTC Newsl. 1 (1987-1988)

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Published by the
Section of Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law
of the American Bar Association
Volume 6, Number 1, Summer 1987

C a|Rmans LOTTeR

  By the time this reaches you
the San Francisco Annual
Meeting of the American Bar
Association and our Section
will be upon us. We antici-
pate a magnificent meeting
and a record attendance!
  The Section's program for
the San Francisco meeting
was printed in the Spring
1987 issue of the PTC Newvs-
letter and was also forwarded
with my letter of June 8, 1987 Win, Marshall Lee
to all members. A final Section program pamphlet will
be distributed to all registrants prior to the meeting.

The Importance of the Section
Business Sessions
  There are differing views concerning the business
sessions of the Section. Some members like them and
others do not. I personally consider the debates during
the business sessions to be very educational. Certainly
they are timely.
  Regardless of one's personal view of the educational
value of the debates it is clear that the resolutions of
the Section adopted at the business sessions are of
great importance. Over the years the resolutions of
the Section, and particularly those which have also
been adopted as resolutions of the American Bar As-
sociation, have led the way to intellectual property
improvements which today benefit the nation. Among
many other important improvements spearheaded by
the Section, the Patent Act of 1952, the Trademark
Act of 1946 and the Copyright Act of 1976 are ex-
amples of major legislation enacted to a large extent
as the result of ABA and Section efforts. The Section
also favored the formation of the U.S. Court of Ap-
peals for the Federal Circuit but could not make its
voice officially heard because of opposition by its par-
ent ABA. The Section's view prevailed, however, and
it is now generally agreed that the Federal Circuit has
been a major influence in generating renewed respect
for U.S. patents and in establishing an understanding

of the importance of patents in the economy.
  The collective judgment of the Section., the largest
national affiliation of intellectual property lawyers in
the world, continues to exert powerful influence in
our government, and indeed, in governments
throughout the world. The business sessions are im-
perative in order to establish the Section's collective
judgment by democratic process.

The San Francisco Business Sessions
  In San Francisco the Section membership will have
the opportunity of considering vital intellectual prop-
erty issues which may lead to fundamental changes in
intellectual property law and practice.
  First-to-File Versus First-to-Invent. You are proba-
bly aware that the Administration, through the Com-
missioner of Patents and Trademarks, has announced
to the world that the United States might entertain a
change from its present first-to-invent patent system
to a first-to-file system as part of an overall treaty for
harmonization of the patent laws of the world. The
United States, Canada and the Philippines are the
only countries in the world which determine rights to
patents based upon priority of invention rather than
priority of application filing, and it appears that Can-
ada is on the road toward adoption of a first-to-file
system. The overall harmonization package proposed
by the U.S. includes institution of an international
grace period such as the one-year grace period in the
U.S., an adequate term of patent protection such as
twenty years from the date of filing, availability of
patent protection in all fields of technology, and a
number of other improvements.
   In San Francisco you will have the opportunity to
 vote on whether the United States should continue to
 stand alone with its first-to-invent system or whether
 our country should embrace first-to-file. You will also
 be asked to vote on the concept of continued personal
 right of a prior commercial user under a first-to-file
 system. And you will be able to express your support
 or opposition to the general concept that any first-to-
 file system adopted by the United States must be part
 of a harmonization package wherein other countries
 agree to changes in their patent systems beneficial to
 U.S. applicants. Inasmuch as the Section's collective

--A 1- i- ADA D ...

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