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News Tip: House Passage of America Invents Act ‘Important Step Forward,’ Expert Says
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that would represent the first major rewrite of American patent law in 60 years.
Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
Rai is a leading authority on patent law, administrative law, and innovation policy. From 2009-10, Rai served as administrator of the Office of External Affairs at the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Prior to that, she served on President-Elect Obama's transition team, reviewing the USPTO and as an expert adviser to the Department of Commerce's Office of General Counsel.
She has written on patent reform -- http://www.scienceprogress.org/2011/03/patent-reform-and-the-progress-of... -- and is co-author of the report "Patent Reform: Unleasing Innovation, Promoting Economic Growth & Producing High-Paying Jobs" -- http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/patentrefor....
"Last night's passage of patent reform legislation by the House of Representatives is an important step forward in making our patent system a more effective engine for innovation. Most importantly, the legislation confers the fee setting authority the Patent and Trademark Office needs to reduce a backlog of more than 700,000 patent applications that creates enormous uncertainty for innovators.
"Unlike the Senate version of the bill, however, the House version does not include a guarantee that fees won't be diverted by Congress to other uses, as has happened repeatedly in the past. Some version of such a guarantee is an essential component of patent reform."