House Committee Passes Patent Reform Bill

For any inventor that has been keeping their eye on the progress of patent reform, it has passed another hurdle. The next step is to put it up for vote before the full House, reports Reuters.

The committee voted 32-3 for the bill that allows more public feedback on applications to prevent bad patents from being approved and gives the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent office more control over its finances.

It would grant patents to the first person to file, rather than the first to invent, which makes it easier for companies applying for patents in a variety of countries.

The bill would allow outside parties to submit information about patent applications to examiners to show why patents should not be issued.

It also ends the practice of diverting fees collected by the patent office to general government revenue and gives it fee-setting authority to hire badly needed examiners and upgrade its technology.

Supporters said they hope the bill will help the patent office clear out a backlog of more than 700,000 applications that are awaiting approval or rejection.

Photo by David Brewster

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