Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

Summary: The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, also known as the latest version of the patent reform bill, was approved by the U.S. Senate.

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TOPICS: Legal
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The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, also known as the latest version of the patent reform bill, was approved by the U.S. Senate today. The legislation now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Among the major changes in the legislation is turning the U.S. patent system into a first-to-file patent system as opposed to a first-to-invent system. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's current use of the first-to-invent system awards a patent based on the conception of the invention, not necessarily when it's filed. The first-to-file system, as the name suggests, awards a patent to the first person who files for it.

Proponents, including technology companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have rallied for the first-to-file system, saying it makes our intellectual-property system more competitive with those in foreign countries. While smaller businesses have said the change in filing standards puts them at a disadvantage.

For more on this story, read Patent reform bill gets Senate approval on CNET News.

Topic: Legal

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  • Here's what first to file wind up doing: Small entrepreneur

    works on an invention. Big corp gets wind of it, orders the legal department to write up a patent on it, and has Legal file it that day. Small entrepreneur gets screwed.
    baggins_z
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @baggins_z <br><br>Small entrepreneur works on an invention, fails to file a simple $175 provisional patent, somehow wanders into a large company and discloses, and gets screwed. Valuable lesson learned.
      Biotechguy
      • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

        @Biotechguy
        This law adds a lot of conflicts of interests.

        1. preliminary patent appllication often doesn't contain all and inportant patent claims. To get those claims approved a collaboration with patent lawer is rational for small businesses and individuals. Now the lawers have natural incentive selling confidential info to those, who pay more.

        2. As evidenced by foreign companies, the first-to-file regulation favors bureaucratic speed instead of meritholder. It is a non-tarif trade barrier. Every time trade was restricted and foreiners vastly disadvantaged, it created an incentive to take markets by force. This initiative is a great damage to national security.
        Justare
    • Exactly

      @baggins_z as congressional pockets overflow...
      The Reverend
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @baggins_z It's even worse. Patent trolls are also off-shore so with this amended law, not only can companies with otherwise idle legal staff file, but you might see your idea productized and imported before you're ready to file.

      Recent advise for small inventors to protect their IP was file only when necessary... immediately before going to production or licensing. Perhaps our offshore "trading partners" /sarcasm lobbied for this change as well.

      Of course the real reform that's needed, and apparently not yet addressed, is the expansive definition of what's patentable. It only provides a feeding frenzy for IP attorneys and drives-up the cost of getting new product to market, putting smaller companies at considerable disadvantage in establishing and protecting their legit IP.

      File under... fixing a problem that didn't exist and ignoring the considerable failings of US PTO.
      UnCommonCents
  • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

    so I can daydream about any crap in the universe and just patent it without doing any work. it should be called the "America Imagines Act", no invention required.
    ebudae@...
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @ebudae@...

      Please do patent one of your daydreams and let us know how that works out for you.
      Biotechguy
  • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

    It won't stop the patent wars, that's for sure. And as always, it's the lawyers who'll get the benefit, with consumers being denied competition as 'first filers' - like Apple - sue anyone who comes near breaking their monopoly.

    There's no long-term future in patents - unless you're a lawyer - so it's high time both government and big business started dismantling the monopoly protection scheme.
    Heenan73
    • Patent reform

      @Heenan73 ! While I agree in general with you, I think Microsoft is more guilty as it has had a worldwide monopoly on operating systems for decades... Apple is obviously getting there. The problem for you and me is that the big corps can throw a lot of cash in our path, either to prevent us from reaching our goal, or simply starving us to death in court. The latter is the biggest problem of all...
      IKE:)
  • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

    Does this throw prior art, i.e. "patent not applied for", out the window?
    Normal_z
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @Normal_z

      No, it doesn't but as always you must have credible evidence of prior art, not just "everybody knows that."
      Biotechguy
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @Normal_z
      Art is covered under copyright law not the patent law(s).
      aussiedawg
      • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

        @aussiedawg the legal term "prior art" refers to the fact that somebody may have invented the thing before the patent filer, invalidating the claim.
        terry flores
  • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

    Isn't the more fundamental flaw of our current patent system that the USPTO seems to be unable to locate appropriate prior art, and are offering patents FAR too loosely?

    See http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/transcript for an instance - look for the story of patent number 5771354 ...
    austegard
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @austegard - you're right, and it's a lot of trouble and expense to invalidate a patent based on prior art. i would like to see a requirement that the loser in a patent infringement suit bear all the legal costs of the winner. I'll bet that would slow down the lawsuits!
      Biotechguy
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @austegard I read that transcript and it was shocking. These lawsuits have become extortion.
      NerdHerder
  • Patent reform may not be thought through...

    Only problem when the political system is a corrupt one, backdating of patents may occur, which I have witnessed in Asia...
    IKE:)
  • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

    Sounds like corrupted politicians to me.
    .ray
  • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

    MS, Google AND Apple think this is wonderful! Now that is terrifying. Remember back in the 80's when Apple liked to pretend it was against "Big Brother" Now They're the worst Big Brother of the lot.
    junk@...
    • RE: Patent reform bill gets Senate approval

      @junk@... True, in Orwellian terms, they morphed from "1984" to "Animal Farm."
      NerdHerder