Senators have given final passage to patent reform legislation (America Invents Act – S. 23) by a vote of 95-5.
According to the New York Times, this bill would “give priority on patents for new inventions to the first person to file an application at the United States Patent Office.”
The current system gives priority to the person who can prove he [or she] was the first to invent something.
The current bill, which would “still have to pass the House before being sent for the president’s signature, would allow the Patent Office to set its own fees.”
David J. Kappos, the director of the patent office and undersecretary for intellectual property in the Department of Commerce, wants to install a new system that would allow applicants to pay a higher fee in order to guarantee that a decision on an application will be rendered within a year. At the same time, he also wants to offer special, lower rates for small businesses and individual inventors.
Currently, it takes about three years for the average patent application to make its way through the system, and the office has more than 700,000 applications that have not yet received even a first look. Mr. Kappos said that he needs additional revenues from patent fees to rebuild the office’s technology systems, which he says are woefully out of date.