Yesterday, Thursday September 8, the Senate passed the House version of the Patent Reform Act. The Patent Reform Bill moves the US from a first to invent to a first to file system. The Bill also creates an opposition procedure, changes the nature of the one-year safe harbor, changes the requirement for obtaining a patent (section 102 of the Patent Act), does away with false marking trolls, emasculates the best mode requirement and sets up an “I invented it first” defense against patent infringement. September 8, 2011 marks a significant change in the patent law (a day of celebration or a day that will live in infamy, depending on who you speak with). Once signed by the President, (which, according to the speech that same day, the President will do) the Bill has a time period it goes into effect. That time period will allow all of us to adjust to the new regime. Whether or not the Bill is challenged as being unconstitutional, only time will tell. In the meantime, we are moving to a cleaner patent practice (no more swearing back-my mother would have liked that change), more pressures on the inventors since the safe harbor now covers less territory and definitely a faster pace for the scribes (the patent attorneys), since now we have a race to the patent office to see who files first.