09.17.12

Leahy Marks One Year Anniversary Of Leahy-Smith America Invents Act

WASHINGTON (Monday, September 17, 2012) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) heralded the one year anniversary of the bipartisan Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which was signed in to law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011.

“One year ago, I was pleased to stand on a stage at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, and others,” Leahy said.  “Together, we watched President Obama sign into law the most important changes to our Nation’s patent laws in sixty years.” 

Just one year ago, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) had a backlog of more than 700,000 unexamined patent applications. Since the enactment of AIA, which updated the patent system or the first time in 60 years, the PTO has reduced the backlog and hired additional examiners and Administrative Patent Judges to implement effectively the numerous portions of the AIA that took effect yesterday. 

The America Invents Act was the culmination of six years of bipartisan work between Leahy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The Senate Judiciary Committee alone held eight hearings on the matter and held hundreds of meetings. The bill won 95 votes in the Senate.

“Enactment of the patent bill was more than a victory for American inventors, large and small; it was a demonstration that Congress can still work in a bipartisan, bicameral matter,” Leahy said. “The legislative success of the patent bill shows what we can achieve when we put aside rhetoric and, instead, negotiate and collaborate in good faith.”

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