US Congress is taken the first steps in drastically changing the way inventors patent their creations, overhauling the existing system for the first time in 60 years with a bill that will assist the marketing of new inventions and create jobs.
The Obama administration, backed by a group of business groups and technology companies, aims to reduce the backlog in patent applications, streamline the process and reduce the cost of litigation as it moves the patent filing system to operate the same way it does in countries around the world.
This would move patent focus away from the “first-to-invent” system currently in use to the “first-inventor-to-file” system.
Supporters of patent revisions include IBM (owner of the biggest patent portfolio in the US), Apple, Dell and Google.
The amendments have not been passed yet, with some committees objecting to parts of the legislation that would allow the USPTO to keep all of the patent fees its collects. However, a final vote is expected to be conducted later on Thursday or Friday.
The passing of legislation would see the Trademark Office reverse its losses, hire more patent examiners and clear the backlog of 1.2 million pending patents, including 700,000 applications that haven’t even been looked at by an examiner as yet.
It would also allow third-parties to submit relevant information regarding a patent application via a new framework called post-grant opposition, which would allow disputes over patent quality to be settled outside of the courts.