Leahy Applauds U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Endorsement Of America Invents Act, Urges House Action On Bill

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, June 14, 2011) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday applauded the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of the America Invents Act, which is currently pending before the House of Representatives.  The U.S. Senate in March voted overwhelmingly to pass companion legislation, which was authored by Leahy and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). 

“I was pleased that the United States Chamber of Commerce today wrote to Members of the House of Representatives in support of the America Invents Act,” said Leahy.  “The Senate-passed companion legislation was approved in March in a 95-5 vote.  This bill will create jobs and grow the economy without adding a penny to the deficit.  Today’s announcement by the Chamber of Commerce is a strong indication of a growing consensus that this legislation is what America needs to win the future through innovation.  I applaud the work that Chairman Smith, Mr. Watt, and others have done to move the legislation forward in the House, and I encourage the full House to act swiftly.”

In a letter to House members on Tuesday, Bruce Josten, the Executive Vice President for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote, “[The American Invents Act] would help ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront of innovation by enhancing the PTO process and ensuring that all inventors secure the exclusive right to their inventions and discoveries.”

On Monday, 150 innovation-focused businesses, universities, corporations, unions, associations, venture capitalists and startup businesses also wrote to House leaders asking them to support a key provision of the America Invents Act to prevent diverting fees collected at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to the general treasury.  The Senate-passed companion legislation includes a similar provision.

The America Invents Act will improve patent quality and help to reduce patent application backlogs at the USPTO.  It will transition the U.S. patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system, and ensure that the USPTO has the funds necessary to process the backlog of more than 700,000 pending patent applications.  Importantly, the reforms included in the legislation will not cost any taxpayer dollars.  The bill would bring the first comprehensive reforms to the nation’s patent system in nearly 60 years.

Leahy has worked with Hatch, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and others on patent reform legislation since 2005.  The America Invents Act incorporates the core provisions of the first patent reform bill introduced by Smith and Berman in 2005.

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