Following up on our Aug. 18 post, “Patent reform working its way through Congress and 8,000,000th patent issued,” the Senate passed the America Invents patent reform legislation yesterday by an 89-9 margin. The House previously approved the bill in June.
The vote reconciled differences between bills passed earlier in the House and Senate. It now awaits President Obama’s signature, which is expected.
The most significant feature of the soon-to-be new law is a change from awarding patents based on a “first to invent” basis to a “first to file” basis. The bill also allows the United States Patent and Trademark Office to raise certain fees.
Supporters of the bill say it will bring the US in line with European and Asian countries. Opposition had come from some small businesses and inventors, who argue that the “first to file” change will favor entities with larger legal staff and resources.
So, looks like we’ll have a new law any day.