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Senate Moves to Final Vote on Patent Reform

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WASHINGTON, March 8, 2011 - The Senate voted Monday to end debate and may move to a final vote as early as Tuesday on a bill that would overhaul the nation's patent system for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The Senate voted Monday by an 87-3 margin to approve an invocation of cloture, bringing debate to a close on the America Invents Act - formerly the Patent Reform Act of 2011.  The Senate is scheduled to consider the bill Tuesday afternoon, but has not yet locked in a time for a final vote.

One of the largest changes the bill would institute if it becomes law is switching the U.S. from a First-to-Invent system to a First-to-File system.  In the former, only the original inventor of a device or process may rightfully file for patent protection.  The First-to-File system, however, grants protection to the first inventor that brings a prosecutable claim to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  The change would bring the U.S. into harmony with the great majority of global patent systems, which rely on First-to-File.

"Now is the time to act.  Now is the time to vote," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the bill's original sponsor, during his statement before the cloture vote Monday.  "Now is the time to move forward with this job-creating bill that will help boost our economy and restore America’s competitive edge in the global marketplace."

Jonathan began his career as a journalist before turning his focus to law and policy. He is an attorney licensed in Texas and the District of Columbia and has worked previously as a political reporter, in political campaign communications and on Capitol Hill. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Washington and a J.D. from Villanova Law School, where he focused his studies on Internet and intellectual property law and policy. He lives in Washington, D.C., where he roots for Seattle sports teams and plays guitar in his free time.

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