Senate Moves to Final Vote on Patent Reform

Congress, Intellectual Property, Patents March 8th, 2011

, Managing Editor,

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.”

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