US Congress sends Obama major patent overhaul

September 9, 2011
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy, pictured in 2010. The US Senate Thursday passed legislation to drag the web of US patent laws into the Internet age and spur high-tech innovation, sending the measure to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

The US Senate Thursday passed legislation to drag the web of US patent laws into the Internet age and spur high-tech innovation, sending the measure to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

In a rare show of bipartisan unity of purpose, the Democratic-held chamber voted 89-9 margin to approve the measure, which cleared the Republican-led House of Representatives by a similarly lopsided 304-117 margin earlier this year.

"This is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will spur the innovation that drives the American economy," cheered Democratic Chairman Patrick Leahy, a key author of the legislation.

"The America Invents Act will ensure that inventors large and small maintain the competitive edge that has put America at the pinnacle of global innovation," he said, amid deep worries about 9.1 percent unemployment.

Leahy's main partner in the House, Republican Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith, called the vote "a victory for America's innovators and job creators who rely on our patent system to develop new products and grow their businesses."

Smith said the measure was "the most significant change to US in 175 years" and called it "one of the most significant jobs creation bills enacted by Congress this year."

The bill, which Obama was expected to sign quickly, shifts US patents from a "first to invent" to "first inventor to file" system while reducing a backlog in applications and curbing what its authors described as frivolous lawsuits.

A statement on the official website of Smith's committee warns that "this year, for the first time, China is expected to become the world’s number one patent publisher, surpassing the US and Japan in the total and basic number of patents."

"Our outdated has become a barrier to innovation," it says.

Explore further: IEEE-USA president urges Congress to pass competitiveness legislation

Related Stories

High tech needs patent reform

April 7, 2009

It isn't often that you see heavyweights in the tech world duking it out in a high-stakes match, with Congress as the referee. It's happening today over proposed reforms in patent law, which pits the software and information ...

White House: Dems near accord on health care bill

February 18, 2010

(AP) -- The White House and congressional leaders are preparing a detailed health care proposal designed to win passage without Republican support if GOP lawmakers fail to embrace bipartisan compromises at President Barack ...

US Congress passes 'fixes' to landmark health law

March 26, 2010

The US Congress on Thursday put the final touches on President Barack Obama's historic health overhaul, passing a set of technical changes to the legislation that will define his political legacy.

US lawmakers to push for online piracy bill

April 5, 2011

Democratic and Republican members of the US Congress pledged Monday to pass legislation that would give US authorities more tools to crack down on websites engaged in piracy of movies, television shows and music and the ...

US House votes to curb climate regulation

April 7, 2011

The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill aimed at preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

210
not rated yet Sep 09, 2011
Well...better late than never!
Let's kill off those damned patent trolls and intellectual property carpet baggers who keep stealing and copying EVERYTHING anyone else does.
(Put real teeth and enforcement behind this one!)
Heck, the patent office is one of the few federal agencies that HAS ALWAYS made money...the FCC is another one.
With patent reform, maybe someone will make the patent office their own search engine and browser JUST for them and make the database open to peer-review. Make the whole process a lot more transparent. THEN if someone files a patent and after ten years, a patent troll tries to sue...too bad, so sad...you got nothing coming junior!!
word-to-ya-muthas

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.