There’s more reaction to the passage of The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, H.R. 1249, by the House of Representatives.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) came out in support of the bill. President and CEO Jim Greenwood said:
“The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act will bring our patent system into the 21st century. The improvements made by the bill will benefit all sectors of the national economy by enhancing patent quality and the efficiency, objectivity, predictability and transparency of the U.S. patent system.”
But, Greenwood indicated that the issue isn’t final just yet saying:
“BIO will continue to work with House and Senate leaders to ensure that final patent reform legislation addresses any remaining concerns and is enacted into law this year.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded passage of H.R. 1249 as an important piece of legislation that would help ensure the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has the necessary resources to revitalize America’s patent system:
“Businesses’ ability to innovate and create quality jobs should not be hindered by stalled patent applications,” said Bruce Josten, Chamber’s executive vice president for Government Affairs. “This bill, which makes long over-due and needed reforms, is a critical tool to ensure that the PTO is adequately staffed, efficiently operated, and fully funded to process patent and trademark applications in a high-quality and expeditious fashion.”
The American Innovators for Patent Reform (AIPR), an advocacy group for inventors, opposed the legislation saying:
“We are very concerned that the change to a first-to-file regime and post-grant opposition will stifle innovation in the U.S., and because the House version of the bill fails to provide full funding for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),” says Alexander Poltorak, AIPR’s founder and president. “This legislation was bought and paid for by large corporations which see being forced to pay royalties for technology invented by others as an unfair business practice. Faced with the escalating costs of defending their patent validity when challenged by post-grant oppositions, I fear that many inventors and small businesses will keep their inventions as trade secrets instead of patenting them, contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers who envisioned the patent system as a mechanism to encourage disclosure of inventions to stimulate the progress of science and technology as they enshrined it in the Constitution.”
Others were also disappointed that the Act still contains the controversial Section 18 of the bill, which many argue was designed solely to make it easier for financial institutions to challenge business method patents:
(a) Transitional Program- (1) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director shall issue regulations establishing and implementing a transitional post-grant review proceeding for review of the validity of covered business method patents. The transitional proceeding implemented pursuant to this subsection shall be regarded as, and shall employ the standards and procedures of, a post-grant review under chapter 32 of title 35, United States Code, subject to the following:
(d) Definition-(1) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this section, the term ‘covered business method patent’ means a patent that claims a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service, except that the term does not include patents for technological inventions.
Note: The House approved several amendments to the bill, and because it differs from the version passed by the Senate on March 8, it now must go back to the Senate for reconsideration.
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