Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

 Email  Share  Print

Senate Sends Final Patent Bill to President

September 09, 2011


​The Senate yesterday voted 89-9 to approve the House version of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), sending the first reform of U.S. patent laws since 1952 to President Obama for his expected signature.

The bill will move the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-inventor-to-file system, which most other countries currently use. This move should simplify the patent application process and enable U.S. inventors to compete more effectively in the global economy. It also includes a number of other provisions that will improve patent quality and reduce litigation costs, including a post-grant opposition proceeding as an alternative to litigation for challenging patent validity.

One of the most important provisions of H.R. 1249 is adequate funding of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has a huge backlog of applications. Under the current system, both fee levels and the USPTO’s budget are set directly by Congress. If the USPTO takes in more in fees than it spends, the difference is used to fund other government programs. Under H.R. 1249, the Office’s spending is still controlled by congressional appropriators, but the fees it collects will be saved in a separate account until Congress appropriates them for USPTO use.

“We appreciate that the concerns of universities and medical colleges were addressed in ways that ensure our institutions’ ability to carry out their public missions,” said a coalition of higher education groups that have been working in support of patent reform efforts. “These institutions are the nation’s principal source of the basic research that expands the frontiers of knowledge. The patent system plays a pivotal role in helping them transfer the discoveries made in their laboratories to the commercial sector for development into products and processes that benefit society.”

For further information, see:

Higher Education Associations Praise Senate Passage of Patent Reform (PDF; 43 KB)

Senate Passes Patent Bill
The Washington Post (free reg. req.)

Overhaul Expected to Speed Patent Process

Fighting Backlog in Patents, Senate Approves Overhaul
The New York Times

Other ACE News

  • November 25, 2015

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    In today’s headlines, Inside Higher Ed examines how colleges and universities use discount rates as part of their recruitment strategies, with nearly 10 percent of colleges offering discount rates of 60 percent or more. In other news, the Pittsburgh...

  • Leading Internationalization

    November 23, 2015

    Map of South America

    Register Now for the 2016 Internationalization Collaborative

    ​ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement will host the 2016 Internationalization Collaborative, “Foundations for Global Learning: Internationalization in the General Education Curriculum,” Feb. 20 in Montreal.

  • Financial Aid

    November 23, 2015

    Students at graduation ceremony

    Perkins Loan Supporters Push for Reinstatement of the Program

    ​ACE, 53 higher education organizations and 535 colleges and universities are requesting a one-year extension of the Perkins Loan Program, which expired on Oct. 1.

  • ACE2016 - The ACE Annual Meeting

    November 18, 2015

    ACE2016 Logo

    Register Now for ACE2016

    Register by Dec. 1 to take advantage of the early bird registration discount for ACE2016, ACE’s 98th Annual Meeting, scheduled for March 12-15 in San Francisco.

  • Budget and Appropriations

    November 18, 2015

    Capitol steps

    Associations Ask Congress to Prioritize Higher Education in FY 2016 Labor-HHS Spending Bill

    ACE and a group of 21 higher education associations ask for higher education be made a priority as appropriations committees move forward on the remaining spending bills for the 2016 fiscal year.


 Related Content