The Washington Post

Feinstein patent reform amendment fails

The Senate voted Thursday to table an amendment proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to retain the current U.S. “first to invent” system of awarding patents. The patent reform act, called the America Invents Act, calls for a change to the current patent system, making it a “first to file” system — similar to what much of the world uses.

Feinstein said that she was concerned about changing the system because such a change could favor big businesses and hurt smaller companies and independent inventors. Feinstein said that moving to the new system will promote races to the patent office. She added that she would not trade American innovation for any other patent system in the world.

The amendment, had it passed, would have largely defeated the intent of the bill. As Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) pointed out in a news release, “a vote in support of this amendment, which would strike first-inventor-to-file provision, is effectively a vote against the heart of the America Invents Act. ”

The motion to table the amendment passed the Senate on a vote of 87 to 13.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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