The House Judiciary Committee passed the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) yesterday by a vote of 32-3, bringing the long-anticipated goal of reforming the nation's patent system one step closer.
H.R. 1249, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), would move the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, which most other countries currently use. It also would authorize the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is dealing with an overwhelming backlog of patent applications, to set its own fees.
The so-called manager’s amendment (a package of individual amendments agreed to by both sides in advance) addressed some of the concerns highlighted by Association of American Universities (AAU) Executive Vice President John Vaughn in his testimony at a hearing last month. ACE, AAU and several other groups sent a letter to Rep. Smith on April 14 in support of the bill.
The bill now moves to the full House for a vote. The Senate approved its patent reform bill (S. 23) in March.