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President signs patent reform law

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

A long-debated patent reform law is now in place, signaling the most significant change to the system in nearly six decades.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation Sept. 16, with Eli Lilly chief executive officer John Lechleiter standing next to him. The America Invents Act – officially known as H.R. 1249 – cleared the Senate in an 89-9 vote on Sept. 8.

Congress wrestled with the proposal for almost a decade. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of the United States has issued a series of rulings through the years addressing issues like “business patent methods.”

The new law changes the infrastructure of the nation’s patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system – something that advocates argued would bring the U.S. closer to systems already used in the rest of the world. Under a first-to-file system, two patent applications that cover the same invention can no longer be contested in an interference proceeding. The patent will go to the inventor with the earliest filing date.

Under the old system, interference proceedings were used to determine which of the two patent applicants invented first by reviewing evidence of the actual conception date of the invention. In the first-to-file system, the first inventor to file has the presumptive rights in the patent and the second to file can only overcome that presumption if he or she can prove that the first applicant derived the invention from that other applicant.

Opponents argued that the first-to-file system favors large, well-funded corporations and hurts small inventors who don’t have the resources to file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as quickly.

The law also establishes a process for someone other than the patent owner/applicant to challenge the validity of a granted patent through a post-grant review; allows virtual marking of a patented item; eliminates qui tam provisions in the false marking sections of the law by prohibiting anyone other than the U.S. from suing for penalties associated with false marking; prohibits any patents related directly to or encompassing a human organism; and renders unpatentable any business method or tax strategy.

The law ensures that the patent office has the funding needed to expedite the application process. It currently takes an average of three years to get a patent approved. The agency has a backlog of 1.2 million pending patents, and more than 700,000 have yet to be reviewed, according to the U.S. patent office.
 

Rehearing "Companies urge IP caution" IL March 4-17, 2009

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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