Patent Reform Heads to the House Floor

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On April 14, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee voted 32-3 to send an amended version of H.R. 1249 (“The America Invents Act”) to the House floor for debate. The amended version of H.R. 1249 retains the core elements of the bill as introduced on March 30, 2011, and in many ways brings the bill closer to S.23, the Senate’s version of patent reform, which passed March 8, 2011.

The amended version of H.R. 1249 retained the provisions that would transition the United States patent system from a “first to invent” system into a “first to file” system, create a new post-grant opposition system for third parties to challenge issued patents, and allow the PTO greater power to set its own funding. The amended version of H.R. 1249, however, also includes amendments that bring it closer to S.23. These changes include: increasing the standard that is applied to requests for inter partes reexamination, conforming reexamination timelines to those in S.23, and scaling back the broad prior use defense introduced in H.R. 1249 to one in line with S.23.

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