On Thursday, September 8th, the United States Senate passed the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) in a bipartisan 89–9 vote. In passing the bill, the Senate rejected three proposed amendments to the bill. The most controversial proposed amendment was sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), which would have reinstated language, originally approved overwhelmingly by the Senate, prohibiting Congress from using Patent and Trademark Office fees for other programs. The House already rejected similar language contained in Sen. Coburn’s amendment and the Senate voted 50-48 to table the Coburn amendment. The bill, which modifies the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file patent system, as well as alters the Patent and Trademark Office’s fee system, now heads to President Obama for his signature and will become law once signed by President Obama within the next week or so.
Please stay tuned for Venable’s more comprehensive alert regarding the America Invents Act, which will issue shortly.