After six years of consideration on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate passed monumental patent reform legislation late yesterday, September 8, by an impressive 89-9 margin. The House of Representatives has already given its approval. President Obama has heralded the legislation as a "job creator," and following his signature the bill will become law. Enactment is expected within a week, and parts of the law will go into effect immediately.
The legislation changes the way inventorship disputes are decided, redefines “prior art,” adds new options for challenging bad patents, seeks to increase Patent and Trademark Office funding, and makes numerous other changes that will markedly alter the U.S. patent system. Altogether, the reforms constitute the most significant change to U.S. patent law since at least 1952. In several ways the legislation will make U.S. patent law more compatible with the patent laws of other industrialized nations.
The following is a summary of the bill’s most significant changes.
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