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Secretary Locke Outlines Administration’s Views on Patent Reform

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today issued a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers outlining the views of the Obama administration on patent reform legislation currently being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The America Invents Act increases the certainty of patent rights by implementing a first-inventor-to-file system for patent approval, which reduces the need for cost-prohibitive litigation that often ties up new ideas in court, stifling innovation and holding back job creation. It will also allow the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to set and retain the fees it collects from its users. The USPTO is entirely fee-funded, and this fee-setting authority will ensure high-quality, timely patent review and address the backlog of patent applications that is currently preventing new innovations from reaching the marketplace.

Since the beginning of Locke’s tenure as Commerce Secretary, reforming the U.S. patent system to support the acceleration of American innovation and competitiveness and drive job creation and economic growth has been one of his top priorities. In meetings with CEOs and U.S. business leaders from companies of all sizes, the shortcomings of the U.S. patent system and the need for reform has almost always been a topic of conversation.

During the last two years, Locke has worked with bipartisan Congressional leaders as they have crafted legislation that is widely supported by industry experts, universities, independent inventors, and the business community, because it will make it easier for America’s innovators to produce new technologies that drive economic growth and create jobs.

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Gary Locke has ignored the small business community

Gary Locke has ignored the small business community in the patent "reform" debate. See this letter from the only credible group representing small American business that has been ignored by those writing patent "reform" legislation. Coalition letter to U.S. House of Representatives expressing concerns with the America Invents Act (HR 1249), pending before the House Judiciary Committee at .

See also The Prevent American Invention Act by former Reagan Administration Official Clyde Prestowitz, Foreign Policy magazine, May 16, 2011.
"The ironically titled America Invents Act (previously the Patent Reform Act of 2011) is being pushed hard by a group of U.S. multinational companies whom -- surprise -- the act would greatly favor at the expense of individual inventors and small start-up companies, the very people we have in mind when we speak of American entrepreneurialism.”

Who needs patents most?

Patents are were created for individual inventors since corporations barely existed 220 years ago. Small companies are today the greatest users of the PTO — based on the importance of their submissions and how important their patents are to them (compared to the patents applied for by many large firms who patent anything that moves and consequently have large quantities of patents with low quality).

Small companies are also the ones we need most to boost our economy. It's astounding how many agencies (e.g. SBA) have abandoned their responsibilities and turned a blind eye to the problems of this legislation. There are many places to read about them, for example:

Readers should contact their congresspeople to let them know how you feel on this: