|For Immediate Release
June 23, 2011
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, 202 225-3951
House Adopts Smith Manager’s Amendment
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today adopted a manager’s amendment to H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, a bill that makes much-needed reforms to our patent system.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) offered the manager’s amendment as part of an agreement with the Appropriations Committee over language addressing fee diversion.
Since 1992, nearly $1 billion has been diverted from the PTO. The average wait time for patent approval is three years. The Manager’s Amendment ends fee diversion by creating a fund for fees collected by the PTO. The money in the fund will be reserved for and used by the PTO and only the PTO. This maintains congressional oversight, while making sure that fees collected by the PTO can no longer be diverted.
The House approved the provision by a vote of 283-140. The House is expected to vote on H.R. 1249 later this week.
Chairman Smith praised the House vote and urged passage of the America Invents Act.
Chairman Smith: “I am pleased that the House has overwhelmingly adopted the manager’s amendment to the America Invents Act. The large margins of this vote demonstrate that Congress understands the importance of patent reform to maintaining America’s global competitiveness, growing our economy, and generating jobs for American workers.
“After six years of working towards patent reform, we are near the finish line. The current patent system is outdated and has become a barrier to innovation and job creation. The average wait time for patent approval is three years. The America Invents Act creates a faster and more efficient process for the approval of good patents. That means more products for American consumers and more jobs for American workers. If Congress is serious about economic growth and job creation, we must pass patent reform.”
Much-needed reforms to our patent system are long overdue. The last major patent reform was nearly 60 years ago. H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, implements a first-inventor-to-file standard for patent approval, creates a post-grant review system to weed out bad patents, and helps the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) address the backlog of patent applications.
H.R. 1249 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 32-3. Similar legislation passed the Senate with overwhelming support by a vote of 95-5. The bill enjoys broad support from industry leaders, academic institutions and independent inventors. For more information about the America Invents Act please visit: http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/issues_patentreformact2011.html