For six years, Congress has worked to shape a bill to modernize the U.S. patent system. Throughout this process, Microsoft has been a strong supporter of sensible reforms. Today, the Senate takes up HR 1249, the America Invents Act, a measure approved by the House in June. We urge the Senate to pass HR 1249 without amendment.
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 supported by large majorities in both Houses and a broad range of stakeholders across industries and the university community:
- 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.
We urge the Senate to pass HR 1249, and we look forward to working with the USPTO toward its implementation.