Sunday, March 13, 2011

The America Invents Act

Patents, like Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, go in and out of style. Patents have had a tough go of it lately, what with Orrin Hatch saying "Our patent laws should be in the iPad age, not the sock hop age."

On March 8, 2011, the Senate passed S23, the somewhat cheekily named "America Invents Act," previously and more descriptively called the 'Patent Reform act of 2011'. What do I, unnamed blogger, think? It's a mixed bag. In the really really good column, patent fees will no longer be diverted away from the USPTO, as they have been in the past, creating budgetary problems for the office. A fully funded USPTO is a happy USPTO, filled with happy non-overworked examiners. Yes.

Failure to disclose a "best mode" will no longer invalidate patent claims.

In the 'neutral' column, the act would, eventually, make the patent system "first to file," standardizing the US system with most of the rest of the world, and freeing associates everywhere from hours of prior art searches during litigation.

The bill formerly had a section 18 which would have made business methods more difficult to patent, but thankfully it appears to have been removed.

The text of the Patent Reform bill can be found here.

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