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Apple Supported 'America Invents Act' Signed Into Law

18 Sep 2011 News
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On Friday, September 16, President Obama signed the 'American Invents Act' which according to the White House is the most significant change to patent law since 1836 although some media outlets are reporting 1952. The legislation was supported by large corporations including Apple and Google. The new law will provide the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO) with additional resources to break the logjam of applications currently choking the system and also changes the system's reliance from "first to invent" to "first to file". According to the White House's blog:
"The USPTO will now be in a position to implement an innovative program to speed up the processing of the patents that are likely to create good jobs right away. Under the prioritized examination process, the USPTO will offer start-ups and growing companies an opportunity to have important patents reviewed in one-third the time with a new fast-track option that has a guaranteed 12-month turnaround." "The program builds on the Green Technology Pilot program that accelerates patent applications involving reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy conservation — at no cost to the inventor. More than 2,407 petitions have been granted to green technology patent applicants since the pilot began in December 2009, and USPTO has issued a total of 470 patents under the program."
The White House also said the USTPO has a backlog of 700,000 applications it hopes to reduce primarily through the use of increased resources, although only 75,000 of these applications are expected to be cleared during this administration.  It is also hoped newly defined quality management guidelines will help expedite patent challenges via in-house post-grant processes. One of the biggest changes involves moving from a "first to invent" system to "first to patent", a standard used by most of the industrial world.  This shift has been criticized by some groups as unfairly favoring large corporations staffed by attorneys who can quickly navigate the patent process and undermining individual inventors and small businesses who may have little or no experience with such processes. To read the full text of the America Invents Act, click here. Below is a video of the press conference held by President Obama at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia just prior to signing the legislation into law.


What parts of the America Invests Act do you like and what parts worry you?  Let us know in the comments section below.
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