On Wednesday, March 30, 2011, a U.S. House subcommittee will consider the patent reform bill titled the “America Invents Act.” The Senate passed a bill by the same name on March 8, 2011, by a vote of 95-5. While the House version of the bill has not yet been made public, Practicing Law Institute reports that the draft being circulated does contain language that would change the U.S. to a “first-to-file” patent system, which would parallel the Senate bill. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet.
Both the Chairman of the House Subcommittee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA6), and the Vice-Chairman, Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC6), have had some experience with patent reform in the past, as they co-sponsored the ultimately unsuccessful Patent Reform Act of 2005, according to Dennis Crouch of the Patently-O blog. The 2005 bill contained a provision that would have changed the U.S. to a “first-to-file” patent system as well. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX21), the sponsor of the 2005 bill, is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
More information regarding the subcommittee’s hearing on the America Invents Act can be found here. For an explanation of the “first-to-file” versus the “first-to-invent” system, see our previous posts. The summary, full text, and present status, of the Senate bill can be found on the Library of Congress’s legislative information website, THOMAS.