Is this the "new" American thing about "first to file"?
Actually, no. You *CAN'T* (lawfully at least, legally in a court is a different thing) infringe a patent if you invent *and* *publish* first.
All "first to file" means is that when arguing over who gets the patent, the date on the application trumps all.
When arguing whether the patent is valid it means NOTHING! So if I publish an idea on the web today, and somebody patents the same idea tomorrow, then according to the law they "filed second" and don't get a patent.
Yes yes, I know reality is different, they'll get the patent and sue me, but the law is clear their patent is invalid. If I were a yank that wouldn't stop me losing my shirt trying to prove that.
(Seeing as I'm a Brit, they'd probably get their head handed back to them on a platter, along with a VERY large bill.)