Obama signs first-to-file U.S. patent reform bill into law

“President Barack Obama signed into law a patent overhaul bill Friday that backers say will curb frivolous lawsuits and help the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office do the hiring needed to clear a huge backlog of applications,” Diane Bartz reports for Reuters. “‘It’s a bill that will put a dent in the huge stack of patent applications waiting for review. It will help startups and small business owners turn their ideas into products three times faster than they can today,’ Obama said at a signing ceremony carried on television.”

“In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Democrat-controlled Senate voted on Sept. 8 to approve a version of the legislation that had come from the Republican-held House of Representatives. Similar to a measure sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, the measure won praise from Republicans such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Representative Darrell Issa, himself a patent holder,” Bartz reports. “The patent overhaul began at the urging of the tech industry, which makes devices containing hundreds of patented technologies and has faced growing numbers of patent infringement lawsuits.”

Bartz reports, “The measure would also grant patents to the first inventors to file, rather than requiring inventors to show they were the first to develop an innovation. The change will make it easier for companies who file for patents in numerous countries… The law will also allow anyone — including a company’s rivals — to scrutinize newly granted patents and give the patent office evidence to show why it should not be allowed.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
U.S. government passes patent reform; critics deem it sellout to big business – September 9, 2011
House approves U.S. patent system overhaul bill – June 24, 2011
U.S. House of Representatives unveils fundamental patent overhaul – March 30, 2011


    1. Well, that is one way to follow Europe. However, it is not always the best for the little inventor. I still believe it helps with people with money and the corporations more.
      Hear it and rush to the patent office and it is yours. Hopefully they will have a few more safeguards than the rest of the world.

    2. But what of the “hidden” consequences?

      One only has to look at Politicians past efforts to improve on a situation only to make a bad situation worse.

      What might we be in store for?…

    3. This is VERY BAD FOR AMERICA and Capitalism and VERY good for “stealing/spreading the wealth” of the economic engine, and (prior to int’l banking gutting) role-model for growth and sustainability of the entire world; which WAS America.

      How many nations have been able to maintain socialism only because of American Capitalism? The fact that foreign countries get American developed pharmaceuticals cheaper should be an indicator. Nationalized healthcare in various nations has been a PRODUCT of American innovation. I could go on with more explanation, but if one doesn’t get it . . . .

      First to file means even if an inventor can prove he created or developed technology or the like he can be denied the fruits of his gift. That means Capitalism for the individual is over. Not fixing the corrupt justice system over going to first to file is an outrage! Let’s just make laws that keep people out of the courts; that will solve everything. (One might want to note that corporations were beginning to gear up for OFFENSIVE and defensive patent infringement cases; maybe because they wanted to join the Chinese in merely stealing technology as opposed to sharing or rewarding innovators. Designers, and the like?)

      The NWO proponents believe they can better organize and control the development and distribution of resources of the world. They believe they can harness the innovation of individuals throughout the world and put it to better use.

      What happens when individuals, or any living organism is denied reward for his productivity? He/it does just enough to survive. The Soviet Union’s standard-of-living with consideration that there were distinct (gov./elites) haves and (the people) have-nots.

      I realize the above may sound irrational to some; and supported with analysis or supporting facts to others. This added factor of first to file to the systematic destruction of the world economy and the future of this planet leaves me little interest in elaborating on this one drop in the flood. Plus convey important information in a coupon via an IPhone . . . .

      The US has also gone the way of the international business world, in spite of protests and int’l organizations that the world market is going to curtail bribery.

      Along w/ the US going from Judeo-Christian business values to conform with international norms with bribery and now first-to-file, meaning stealing from citizens for the benefit of the whole, now the entire world can test out historically unsuccessful policies.

      I acknowledge that I am merely a lay-person to anything having to do with patent law, but over and over and again I have smelled rats with givernment policy changes that turned out to lead to rat holes eating away at all of the resources of America. (Not enough; look what Sarvanes Oxley has done to small business operating costs and the amount of American IPO filings!)

      Now, I’m really mad, at PRESIDENT OBAMA, the Congress, and I’m sure the Senate!)

      Hurry Jesus!

  1. It would be nice if the US patent office would provide a service to help patent-filers instantaneously file a patent not just in the US, but file a patent in every country in the world at one time, but with no lag time. It shouldn’t have delays in other countries or in the US. Otherwise, Big Money would just copy your patent here in the US, cut in line to file first probably here and everywhere else, then petition the ITC to ban your product around the world. As things stand now, it looks to me that, without such a service, Big Money has the little guy at complete disadvantage.

  2. Its a big smash and grab operation by out of control lawyers. The legal system in the US is a joke.

    Besides, if Ohbummer signed it, it can’t be a good thing, right?


  3. First to File is stupid. Always has been. It favors the companies that have a patent attorney on retainer or on staff.

    Hear about a nice new idea by someone else? Get that patent filed immediately! File first and get the patent first!

  4. How does moving disputes on the legitimacy of a patent from U.S. District Courts to PTO improve anything? The PTO is so slow and this will only add to their workload.

  5. Let’s not forget about the $214M “gift” to special interest law firm in Boston that is attached to this bill. Unimaginable how congress could attach this at the last minute and slipping it through on the patent bill’s coat tails, especially in these hard economic times. Disgraceful! Shame on the President for signing it too, because if it went back to congress and the $214M was removed it would still pass the house and senate and the President could have saved millions of dollars so desperately needed.

  6. “The measure would also grant patents to the first inventors to file, rather than requiring inventors to show they were the first to develop an innovation….”

    There are sure going to be a lot of patent trolls and squatters out there now.. How will they weed these folks out? If they don’t this is going to evolve into some sort a leaching patent business if there aren’t any checks and balances.

  7. I do not understand this:
    “The law will also allow anyone — including a company’s rivals — to scrutinize newly granted patents and give the patent office evidence to show why it should not be allowed.”

    How is this new? The premise of the patent system is that benefits are offered to the inventor in exchange for full public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

    What has changed?

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