The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) applauded the U.S. Senate passage of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act. The patent reform bill now heads to the desk of President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
“The passage of the America Invents Act is an important step toward the creation of a 21st century patent system that will promote and safeguard innovation,” said Michael Petricone, CEA senior vice president, government affairs. “This bill speeds the approval of patents and deters patent trolls and others who seek to abuse our intellectual property system and makes a number of changes that will improve the functioning of our patent system. It reforms a misguided law that allowed frivolous, innovation-chilling lawsuits in the event patent numbers were listed incorrectly on products.”
The legislation allows the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to have better access to its own user fees. Since 1992, nearly $1 billion in funding has been diverted from the PTO. Meanwhile, the backlog at the PTO is around 1.2 million patent applications, and the average wait time for patent approval is three years. These delays mean products are not brought to market in a timely manner and jobs are not created.
“For years, structural problems in our patent system have stifled innovation while imposing unnecessary costs on our crown jewel companies,” Petricone added. “At a time when Americans are innovating faster than ever, a fully functional patent system is fundamental to our economic success. The America Invents Act is an important step toward restoring common sense, encouraging innovation, and reducing harm by those using the present law to hurt our economy and productive companies.”
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