Congress Passes Patent Reform Bill

The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly passed H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, which was earlier passed by the House of Representatives. The new bill has several provisions which will impact application development. First, the U.S. will now use a “first-to-file” system to award patents, which lifts the burden of proving originality. Also, the new bill expands the ability to review patents and challenge their legitimacy through a new Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

However, the final bill does not include the original language that would have limited damage awards to the equivalent of the market value for lost licensing fees. Observers say that would have put a damper on the business model of so-called “patent trolls” which often rely on lawsuits for their income.

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