"Patent Reform After All These Years ... Maybe?"
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the patent reform bill (H.R. 1249) — widely known as the "America Invents Act," by a vote of 304-117. The bill, intended to streamline the patent process, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee, 32-2, in April and was reported to the floor with amendment on June 1 (the "bill"). The Senate passed a similar bill (S.23) in March by an overwhelming 95-5 vote.
However, because of differences between the two bills, the Senate will now have to review and possibly vote on the bill before it goes to the president. Last week, in the days leading up to the House vote, numerous amendments were passed — the most notable one related to fee diversion — which may jeopardize the bill's passage in the Senate. Although patent reform appears to be moving expeditiously through Congress, the ball is now back in the Senate's court as to whether to pass the first meaningful overhaul of patent law in nearly 60 years.