Patent Law Updates | New Proposed Legislation
June 24, 2011
In Historic Vote, House Passes Sweeping Patent Reform Bill
America Invents Act
H.R. 1249, 6/23/2011
The House of Representatives has passed a bill sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that updates the country’s patent system to “encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth.”
The America Invents Act implements a first-inventor-to-file standard for patent approval, creates a post-grant review system to weed out bad patents, and helps the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) address the backlog of patent applications.
The bill has broad support from industry leaders, academic institutions and independent inventors. Earlier this year, the Senate passed patent reform legislation by a vote of 95-5. The House proposal passed out of the House Judiciary Committee headed by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 32-3.
“Much-needed reforms to our patent system are long overdue. The last major patent reform was nearly 60 years ago. H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, implements a first-inventor-to-file standard for patent approval, creates a post-grant review system to weed out bad patents, and helps the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) address the backlog of patent applications,” Smith declared.
The House overwhelmingly approved the bill by a vote of 304-117.
The House included a Smith Manager’s Amendment. Rep. Smith offered the manager’s amendment as part of an agreement with the Appropriations Committee over language addressing fee diversion.
According to the House Judiciary Committee, since 1992, nearly $1 billion has been diverted from the PTO. The average wait time for patent approval is three years. The Manager’s Amendment ends fee diversion by creating a fund for fees collected by the PTO. The money in the fund will be reserved for and used by the PTO and only the PTO. “This maintains congressional oversight, while making sure that fees collected by the PTO can no longer be diverted,” the Committee stated.
The House approved the provision by a vote of 283-140.
Similar legislation passed the Senate with overwhelming support by a vote of 95-5.
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