President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday that will overhaul the U.S. patent system for the first time since 1952.
“We have to do everything we can to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit wherever we find it,” Obama said at a signing ceremony at a high school in Arlington, Virginia. This measure “cuts away the red tape that slows down our inventors and entrepreneurs.”
Obama used the occasion to promote his $447 billion jobs plan, calling patent reform a “part of our (larger) agenda for making us competitive over the long term.”
Among other things, the measure, dubbed the America Invents Act, will transition the country to a “first-to-file” system, instead of the current “first-to-invent” approach. Issuing patents to the first person or company to file will help provide clarity in the patent-granting process, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says. It will also prevent inventors from coming out of the woodwork to challenge pending patents.