U.S. House of Representatives Passes Patent Reform Legislation
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Invents Act 304-117, with 168 Republicans and 136 Democrats voting in favor. The legislation passed by the House has some differences from the Senate version passed in March. However, there is an informal agreement that the Senate will vote on the House version of the bill without amendment. If that occurs, the legislation will then go to President Obama for signature.
The House legislation shifts the patent system to a first-to-file award process from the current first-to-invent system, alters how the USPTO is funded, creates a post-grant review system and establishes a pilot committee to review questionable business-method patents.
One of the most significant differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill is in the USPTO funding provisions. The Senate version would allow the USPTO to keep all of the fees it receives, the House version puts the fees in a separate account, to be used only to fund the USPTO, and the office would be required to come in front of congressional appropriators to receive the funds.