Microsoft is now urging the U.S. Senate to pass HR 1249, the America Invents Act, a measure approved by the House in June "without amendment," according to Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president & deputy general counsel, Microsoft.
Designed to modernize the U.S. patent system, HR 1249 already passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote on June 23, 2011.
Gutierrez said that "HR 1249 it builds on the significant progress toward consensus reflected in the Senate's own patent reform measure, S. 23," and accomplishes the three core goals:
- Ensuring that the USPTO, a user-fee funded agency, has access to the funding it needs to continue to improve patent quality and reduce application pendency;
- Moving the U.S. to adopt a "first inventor to file" system, enabling greater harmonization of patent processes with those of other countries that already follow this approach; and
- Establishing additional administrative tools, including a new post-grant review procedure, to help eliminate questionable patents.
"HR 1249's reforms in these areas will ensure that innovators in our troubled economy can benefit from a predictable and rational patent system, with new tools to eliminate patents that should not have issued and to speed the processing of patents that should be issued."
"A fair, balanced and effective patent system is indispensable to promoting R&D investment, job creation, and economic growth. The time to enact this important measure is now," Gutierrez added.