U.S. House of Representatives unveils fundamental patent overhaul

“Patents would be issued to whoever files applications first and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would be allowed to set its own fees under a measure introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives [H.R. 1249],” Susan Decker and Eric Engleman report for Bloomberg. “The proposal, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, is similar to legislation passed by the Senate in a 95-5 vote on March 8. If approved and made law, it would mark a fundamental change in how patents are reviewed and the biggest revision to U.S. patent law since 1952.”

“The measure seeks to give the patent office more power to control its funding, with an end to Congress diverting fees for other non-patent purposes. It would let small businesses pay lower fees, limit the ability to obtain patents on tax-avoidance methods, and curtail lawsuits that accuse companies of putting expired patents on products,” Decker and Engleman report. “‘The strength of our economy relies on our ability to protect new inventions and build on innovation,’ Smith said in a statement. ‘Unfortunately, our outdated patent system has become a barrier to innovation and invites lawsuits from holders of questionable patents seeking to extort millions of dollars from companies. We cannot protect the technologies of today with the tools of the past.'”

“The Senate bill had support from a coalition of U.S. companies such as 3M Co, drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc, construction equipment-maker Caterpillar Inc., chemical company DuPont Co., General Electric Co. and International Business Machines Corp.,” Decker and Engleman report. “The Coalition for Patent Fairness, whose members include Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG), was critical of the Senate version. In a statement, the group said there are ‘improvements in the legislative language’ in the House version.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The Coalition for Patent Fairness (CPF) issued the following statement following the hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet on patent reform:

Patent reform has been a lengthy and complicated process and we commend the House for debating this topic. America’s top innovators and job creators depend on a fair and equitable patent system, thus consensus must be achieved during this debate.

Today’s testimony correctly highlighted some of our concerns with the bill including the language related to inter partes re-examination and supplemental examination. We will continue to support prior user rights and a robust funding structure for the Patent and Trademark Office, and work with Congress to resolve our concerns.

Getting patent reform right is critical to our economy and the Coalition for Patent Fairness looks forward to improving the bill throughout this process.

The Coalition for Patent Fairness is a diverse group of companies and industry associations dedicated to enhancing U.S. innovation, job creation, and competitiveness in the global market by modernizing and strengthening our nation’s patent system. Coalition for Patent Fairness members include Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel, Intuit, Micron, Oracle, RIM, SAP, Symantec, and Verizon Communications.

Source: The Coalition for Patent Fairness


  1. Well lookie here, substantive “change,” for a change.

    Thanks, Republicans!

    And, for the record: Whatever GE likes, I like, too.

    Sorry, now, gotta go, tee time in 20 minutes!

    1. I forgot, because I’m not too bright, I also love GITMO. I do. I admit it, I LOVE GITMO.

      Okay, suckers?

      So, don’t forget now, my hypocrite supporters, Gitmo’s still open for business, the Bush tax rates are still in place, and I lost the House in the biggest Republican landslide since 1938, suckers!

      Now, go put up those Obama 2012 lawn signs and slap those Obama-Biden 2012 bumper stickers on your Volvos, you Special Olympics pawns!

    2. I’m confused.

      You are always spouting off about Obama, but you like GE, whose CEO is one of Obama’s top industry advisors? And who didn’t pay any taxes this year on $14 billion profit? I’m not saying it’s impossible to like one and not the other, your previous posts just suggest you’re the type to despise anything associated with the president.

      1. I am Obama, dummy. I love GE because they pay me money to like them. Get it?

        Jeez, you’re Andrea Mitchell dumb. I know I can count on your vote!

        Gotta go now, I’m on the 2nd tee…

      2. From his/her posts seems more like a pretty ill informed person trying to be part of something, and who has other problems, from the bile spewed. Sadly, on a computer oriented site space is taken for posts that don’t forward the goal of the site. For the record, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) spent tons of hours setting up and guiding it through the Senate, where it passed March 8. i’ve sent an email with no response to mods about monitoring posts with pure political agendas. i don’t think mdn needs the hits it’s a good site, extremely humorous takes on issues and good feedback. why let this kind of stuff clog up the system, mdn?

        1. Hypocrites.

          I’d love to hear you hypocrites if the U.S. President was any Republican and he/she went into Libya without congressional authorization. You’d be prancing in the streets like Wisconsin union leeches who’ve finally been told that the free ride is over.

          FYI: Bush had congressional authorization for both Afghanistan and Iraq.

          I said I’d close Gitmo. Gitmo’s still open (we’re still waterboarding, too – shhh!)

          I have a list of about a hundred other promises that I made that I either failed to deliver or actually delivered the complete opposite.

          Okay, hypocrites? But, you pawns will still support me, because it says “Democrat” in front of my name and because you are hypocrites and that’s what good little hypocrites do.

          I love hypocrites almost as much as I love GE and GITMO!

          I have news for you suckers, McCain would’ve been far better. Even I know that. Gotta go – putting on the 4th hole now…

        2. @writing devil,

          “i’ve sent an email with no response to mods about monitoring posts with pure political agendas. i don’t think mdn needs the hits it’s a good site, extremely humorous takes on issues and good feedback. why let this kind of stuff clog up the system, mdn?”

          So if they disagree with you they should be banned or deleted? Or maybe your political agenda is the exception and therefore supporting posts should be accepted? As for the goal of this site, hits are obviously way more important than content.

      3. It’s a conservation approach: he doesn’t resources on thinking, just issues mindless/reflexive spouts. And makes his tee-time.

        By the way, GE also garnered 3.2 billion in tax subsidies. So, instead of the much maligned 35% corporate tax rate we always hear about, GE actually has a negative tax rate. But that still didn’t stop them from shipping 1,000s of jobs overseas. “Please, sir. May I have some more?”

    3. GE also likes cap-and-trade, no doubt because they think they’ll make money on carbon trading. And they’re in favor of government subsidies and any regulations that will promote their “eco” product line. This is a classic case of crony capitalism, with Jeff Imelt being Obama’s crony.

      Full disclosure: former GE stockholder

  2. Patents should also be granted only for real companies that have real products and not just paper. If you don’t make your invention into a real product than that should disqualify your patent as authentic and block any actions in court for any kind of lawsuit against others that already have a real product. Laying in wait for other companies to manufacture, sell, and make a profit and then ask for a patent suit should be illegal!

  3. You’ve all missed the biggest change, and it was right up front in the article…

    The U.S. has been the last major country still supporting the concept of “First to Invent”.

    Currently it does not matter who files first. If you were the first to invent something — and can prove it — then all patent rights go to you.

    This new legislation would convert the U.S. to a “First to File” country — like most of the rest of the world.

    It would not matter who invented the implementation first. It would only matter who filed the patent application first and got that application accepted for filing at the USPTO.

    Got the fastest lawyers & patent writers? Hear of an implementation that you really like? Hurry and put together a pattent appliction and get the USPTO to accept it for filing! If you beat your competitors (and the original inventor) to the punch then it does not matter if they invented it first! You get the patent and there is NOTHING they can do about it! “First to File” rules!

    I’ve always liked the fact that the U.S. was one of the last hold outs on the “First to Invent” concept. I hope **this** part of the legislation dies!

    1. Yep, and while all the lemmings cheer about reform, they do not bother to look at the meat of the issue and think, just regurgitate the party lines they have been fed.

      Yet another poorly thought out bill from our inept legislators. The US Decline continues..

  4. What I want to know is if the bill mandates raising the level of technology literacy at the US Patent and Trademark Office. That is where the crux of their FAIL lies. If dumbass patents continue to be handed out to anyone with a pen and paper, nothing at all is going to change.

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