On March 8, 2011, the U.S. Senate voted 95 to 5 to pass S. 23 “America Invents Act” also known as the Patent Reform Act. The Patent Reform Act of 2011 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy on January 25, 2011. Significant changes to the patent system in S. 23 include:
- First-Inventor-to-File System
- Post-Grant Opposition System
- Post-Grant Review for Business Method Patents
- USPTO Fee-Setting Authority and USPTO Funding
- Protection of inventors’ prior user rights if they disclose inventions one year before filing patent applications.
- Extended timeline for inter partes review initiation after litigation begins.
- Longer time frame for post-grant review.
- A three-year safe harbor from liability for expired patents.
- A sunset provision for the PTO’s fee-setting authority.
On September 8, 2011, the United States Senate approved the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), finalizing congressional acceptance of long-anticipated U.S. patent reform. The Senate’s passage comes only months after the House of Representatives voted to pass the bill on June 23, 2011, and brings many changes to U.S. patent law.
On September 16, 2011, President Obama signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act into law.
Banner & Witcoff attorneys are available to answer questions and discuss patent reform. Media inquiries should be directed to Chris Hummel at (202) 824-3126 or email@example.com.
(Wooten, William E.)