The America Invents Act (S. 23 & H.R. 1249), previously called the Patent Reform Act of 2011, is trying to change the standard of patent approval from a "first to invent" to a first inventor to file."
"The United States is the only major developed country that still uses the costly and complex first-to-invent standard in awarding patents. This change is constitutional - and common sense, " explains Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in an article on politco.com.
This legislation, favored by the biopharmaceutical industry, is receiving key support in the House after sailing through the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee has already cleared the bill, 32-3, and the Senate passed its version by a 95-5 vote.
Reps. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.) are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter urging support for the America Invents Act, arguing that the updated regulation will "create jobs across the country, grow businesses and help us better compete in the global economy."
The National Association of Manufacturers also supports the bill, especially the inclusion of Section 22, which creates a mandatory revolving fund in the Treasury to consistently capture all user fees collected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and to allow for their expenditure for no other purpose than funding the USPTO.
"Although the USPTO is not well known, it may be the single greatest facilitator of private sector job creation and economic growth in America. It is this agency, after all, that issues the patents that businesses -- especially startups -- need to attract venture capital investment, develop new products and services, and create jobs, " the group wrote in a letter to Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi.
GlaxoSmithKline (in their blog) commended that same aspect of the bill as it will "give the USPTO the tools and funding it needs to process patents in a more effective and efficient way and make America more competitive in the global marketplace."
The company points out that 3.1 million jobs supported by the biopahrmaceutical research section have their roots in innovation. The company noted that in 2009, biopharmaceutical companies invested more than $65 billion on the discovery and development of medicines, and roughly 2,900 compounds are currently being studied in the United States -- more than in any other region.