Friday, September 16, 2011

President Obama Signs the ‘‘Leahy-Smith America Invents Act’’

Today President Obama signed the ‘‘Leahy-Smith America Invents Act,’’ also known as the patent reform act.  The final bill is here in PDF form and here in text form (with handy hyperlinks to its various sections).  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's web page on the bill is here, and additional government press releases are here, here and here.

While the bill unquestionably contains the most significant changes to the patent laws since the current version of the Patent Act was passed in 1952, the bill does not "reform" the patent laws as much as many people had hoped.  Patent reform bills have been before Congress for most of the last decade, and competing interest groups have blocked various reforms in earlier proposals.  For example, the electronics, computer and other tech industries would have liked to have seen reform of how patent damages are awarded, but pharmaceutical companies and non-practicing entities opposed such changes.  Today's bill is a compromise containing a number of unrelated changes, many of which are highly technical in nature and matter only to patent lawyers.

Since the Senate passed the House version of the bill, H.R. 1249, on September 8, there have been tons of articles written about the bill's scope and effect.  Rather than write my own analysis, I'll just link to a bunch of them.  (This post will therefore get updated regularly as I receive additional articles of interest.)

1 comment:

  1. One of the few helpful measures that I see contained in this legislation is a provision requiring a showing of "competitive injury" in order to obtain standing in a false marking suit. This should prove effective in reducing (if not eliminating) the new scourge of false marking patent trolls. And, doubtless, those at the USPTO are looking forward to a probable increase in fees. But, from what I can tell, the rest of this bill is mostly a wash.