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Posted at 4:12 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Feinstein patent reform amendment fails

By Hayley Tsukayama

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.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 3, 2011; 4:12 PM ET
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"patent reform act, called the America Invents Act, calls for a change to the current patent system, making it a “first to file” system"

That is just one of many changes, none of which benefit small entities. What they will do is help large corporations maintain their monopolies and kill their small entity and startup competitors (which is exactly what they intended it to do) and with them the jobs they would have created. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, “startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” This bill is a wholesale slaughter of US jobs.

Please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

Posted by: 0028 | March 3, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The "simple" problem with patents is that the US has poor patent quality. Patents are being allowed on natural products, business methods, and other abstract concepts. Patents should NOT be issued for natural products, business methods, or abstract concepts.

In terms of the big picture, with so-called "intellectual property", we are shooting ourselves in the foot. It is ridiculous to assume that only the US is creating. Other nations will soon catch-on to this concept and demand licensing fees from us to use their technology. So, with our deficit, how are we going to pay their licensing fees?

If innovation and job growth is the real objective; eliminate "intellectual property" then we won't have artificial legal barriers to trade. Products will also be cheaper since we won't have to pay licensing fees (domestic and foreign).

Posted by: SteveR1 | March 4, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Didn't take long. TechDirt Article: "Be Careful What You Wish For: Taiwan Using US Pressured Patent Laws Against US Companies"

Posted by: SteveR1 | March 7, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

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