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Patent Law Reform

In our last article, we discussed the principles and incentives behind the patent system.  Patent law reform efforts are meant to reduce inefficiencies, improve patent quality, and eliminate abuses that have the potential to stifle rather than promote innovation.

Starting in 2006, a patent law reform bill has been introduced in Congress annually.  The Patent Reform Act of 2011 is a bipartisan piece of legislation that will be introduced on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union Address.  Here are a few proposed patent law changes it contains:

  • a “first inventor to file” will have priority over a “first person to invent “
  • the right of a third party to submit prior art during examination of a  patent is expanded
  • an opposition procedure is created for newly issued patents
  • judges will have a more active role in assessing the legal basis for specific damages
  • supplemental examination process will be available after issuance to improve the quality of an issued patent
  • more flexibility in setting fees to ultimately reduce the backlog at the Patent Office
  • creation of a third entity status (the micro-entity) with a 75% fee reduction

Whether or not the bill is enacted, an experienced patent lawyer will prepare your patent while keeping in mind potential changes to the patent system in the future.

Written by
Dan Cotman
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