President Obama Brings Major Patent Reform With the Signing Of America Invents Act


President Obama has just signed into law the America Invents Act. This is the biggest step in patent reform the US Patent and Trademark Office has seen in over 60 years. The newly signed law will give the UPTO the funding and manpower they need to not only help companies and inventors avoid delays but also avoid the unnecessary litigation we’ve been seeing as of late. The law wont go into effect over night. It will take another 18 months for everything to get settled in which time Apple will continue using all their manpower to sue the pants off of Android OEM’s. Here’s a snippet of the “press release” from The White House Blog:

The newly-signed law has a number of important transformations that will build on reforms already underway under the leadership of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s dynamic Director David Kappos. The law will give the USPTO the resources to significantly reduce patent application waiting times, building on the great strides the patent office has already made, including reducing its backlog by 75,000 during this Administration even as the number of filings per year has increased.

Excessive litigation has long plagued the patent system.  The America Invents Act will offer entrepreneurs new ways to avoid litigation regarding patent validity, without the expense of  going to court, and will also give the USPTO new tools and resources to improve patent quality. The new law also will harmonize the American patent process with the rest of the world to make it more efficient and predictable, and make it easier for entrepreneurs to simultaneously market products in the United States and for exporting abroad.

[Via Whitehouse]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. So…. it makes it easier for those who OWN patents to assert their validity without even going to court. Isn’t the problem that TOO MANY patents are considered valid? Does it do a thing to address that problem?

    1. Apparently you missed the part stating “and will also give the USPTO new tools and resources to improve patent quality”.

      Of course, this statement is just a bunch of fluff at the moment, an empty promise. Time will tell whether this new “reform” makes things better, or worse.

      1. they can start improving patent validity by getting rid of business-method and software patents. :-)

    2. “new ways to avoid litigation regarding patent validity, without the expense of going to court”

      I believe they mean there will be a new channel to contest a patent validity instead of bringing the case to court.

      “will also give the USPTO new tools and resources to improve patent quality”

      Let’s hope it means that bogus Apple patents will be a thing of the past.

    3. > Isn’t the problem that TOO MANY patents are considered valid?

      Just remove the “TOO M” and I would agree. :-)

      Isn’t the problem that ANY patents are considered valid?

  2. “America Invents Act”, ironic considering how you can patent something someone else invented and still have it be valid now. Way to miss the issues and just make it worse.

  3. At least they’re trying. We’ll have to see how it turns out.

    1. Agree, it at least proves they know there is a problem… this has to at least help some…

    2. They aren’t really trying. The guts of this bill do nothing but make it look like something is being done. It’s what is colloquially called an appeasement bill. It’s meant to appease the growing unrest over patent issues without changing anything fundamental or fixing anything that is broken. Government is still in the pocket of big business and until that changes you cannot expect any actual reform.

      The bill itself basically amounts to throwing more money at a problem that has little to do with a lack of finance in the USPTO.

      For the nearly three years this bill has been in development, industry campaigners have been trying to push for real and meaningful reform and this is the end result – an insult.

      As it came down to the last three months we have been pushing as hard as we could for amendments to the bill, some definition around business methods and what is and isn’t patentable, provisions for penalising repeat offenders for frivolous law suits, and what we got is “we’ll give them more computers and better software and let them keep more of the fees they make from the patent applications”.

  4. I thought this was basically going to make it where the first person to submit the patent, got the patent, whether they invented it or not. Of course becuase it’s all based on how quickly you file and now by when you actually invent, this would only cause the patent office to be more swamped with garbage patent. Either I’m wrong, or the original poster has been drinking too much of the kool-aid.

    1. Patents should only be for the first inventor of an idea. Any one can make ideas such as touchscreen why should a lazy ass have credit for putting an idea on paper when the real invention is when its in solid form?

  5. Where I work we have a number of operating guidelines and directives created because of one sole employee. We affectionately refer to them as a “[name] act”. This patent law should certainly be labeled as the Apple Reform.

    1. Kind of like the Disney Copyright extensions? I agree.

  6. I really hope they do this right. The patent system clearly needs to be fixed. The “funding” will of course be more of our tax dollars. Washington has a tendency to just throw tons of money at problems instead of taking a step back and determining what is causing the problem and how to fix it – such as reorganizing, or whatever it may be, and we all know what that ends up leading to. I think a big proponent of this is that businesses are able to use that type of approach because they have limited capital, whereas the government pretty much has no limit.

    1. Patent Office funding mostly comes from the fees it collects, not so much tax dollars.

      1. Yes, some of it does come from the fees it collects, but not all of it. And given the current administration’s history of spending, (tax & spend, tax & spend) to be wary would appropriate.

  7. I think all those lawsuits are getting ridiculous and out of hand. The best solution is to destroy and banish all patents. Let everyone create, recreate, copy whatever they want. That will drive prices down for us consumers and there will finally be some decent competition in certain markets.

  8. What difference does this make if America doesn’t manufacture anything anymore, and the countries that do manufacture refuse to honor American patents and intellectual property?

  9. Download the bill and try to find the word “software” in it. You won’t, because this bill does nothing to solve the problem of software patents which many have been the equivalent of patenting words in the English language. Other tech news sites have noted this too.

  10. Duplicate comment deleted.

  11. And let’s not forget the $214 million bailout that was snuck into the bill for WilmerHale, a Boston law firm that failed to file a patent extension for one of their clients, was sued, and lost, thus having to pay a fine of…you guessed it, $214 million. What good is making a company pay a fine if you’re going to sneak the money back to them later?
    Answer: To make the government *look like* they are doing their job and keeping the best interests of the citizens, when in reality they aren’t doing any of that.
    Typical Washington cronyism. Vote them out in 2012.

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