Highlights of the Patent Reform Act of 2011
The Senate passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act on September 8, 2011, sending comprehensive patent reform legislation to the White House. President Obama signed the bill into law on September 16, 2011.
Passage of the bill is the culmination of more than a decade of efforts. Several of the provisions implement recommendations made for reform of the patent system by the Federal Trade Commission in 2003 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2004.
Some of the key features include:
- New definitions of prior art
- New post grant and inter partes review proceedings
- Supplemental examination
- A provision making failure to disclose the best mode no longer a basis for invalidity
- Special procedure for challenging business method patents.
Importantly, the legislation includes a provision to give greater assurance that user fees will be exclusively available for the activities of the USPTO. Many of the new provisions will be implemented a year after the president signs the legislation, but some will go into effect immediately. One provision of wide interest will amend 35 U.S.C. 292 to eliminate qui tam actions for false marking, effective immediately upon enactment and applicable to all cases pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of enactment.
On this occasion, AIPLA President David Hill offered the following message to AIPLA members:
“The time has arrived now to look forward and ensure that the new law is implemented in a way that fulfills that potential, and AIPLA will lead the way with both its advocacy and education programs. I want to express my thanks to members for their support and understanding throughout this journey, and to give my assurance that the Association will continue to work for the most effective patent system possible.”
IPO Executive Director Herb Wamsley said, “We congratulate the many IPO members who worked on this legislation for so long. It is not a perfect bill, but most IPO members regard it as a huge step forward in improving the patent system.”
Intellectual Property Law Practice
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