After failed attempts in prior years, the U.S. Senate has passed a sweeping reform of U.S. patent law by a wide 95-5 margin. The vote was taken in the Senate on March 8, 2011. The bill makes significant changes to the U.S. patent system, most notably including a first-inventor-to-file system, enhanced post-grant review procedures that will be conducted within the USPTO, and changes to USPTO funding. The bill also addresses preissuance submission by third parties, USPTO fee-setting authority, supplemental examination, micro entity fees, tax strategy patents, elimination of the best mode defense, special post-grant review for business method patents, USPTO satellite offices, creation of a USPTO ombudsman, residency for Federal Circuit judges, and USPTO authority to prioritize examination of inventions of national importance.
The House of Representatives, while active in prior sessions, has not yet introduced a bill of its own. However, it has held recent hearings on patent law reform.