U.S. PATENT REFORM LEGISLATION PASSES

Long-awaited U.S. Patent Reform Legislation passed Congress today, September 8, 2011. In June, the House of Representatives passed a bill substantially similar to a bill passed in March by the Senate. The major difference between the bills relates to the handling of Patent Office fees, while the primary points of reform proposed in the bills, e.g., changing to a first-to-file system, amending patent litigation practices, and implementing post-grant review procedures, are consistent. However, because differences existed between the two bills, one of the Congressional bodies needed to conform their bill to the other’s in order to proceed. Fortunately, the Senate has moved the process forward by passing the House version. Accordingly, now that the U.S. Patent Reform bill has been passed by Congress, the bill will be sent to the President to be signed into law. The Obama White House has given strong support to this bill throughout the Congressional process and is expected to immediately sign the bill.