Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
|For Immediate Release: |
March 8, 2011
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Boxer Statement on Senate Passage of Patent Bill
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today issued the following statement on her opposition to the America Invents Act of 2011, which was passed by the Senate today:
“I voted against the patent bill because I am concerned that this legislation could hurt startups, entrepreneurs and inventors – whose success is crucial to job creation in California and nationwide – by moving away from a system that has protected innovation in America for more than 200 years.”
Senator Boxer opposed a provision in the bill that would switch from the current “first-to-invent” system, which awards patents to the first inventor, to a “first-to-file” system that awards patents to the first person to file an application with the Patent and Trademark Office. Boxer co-sponsored an amendment to strike the “first-to-file” language from the bill, which was defeated last week.
Senator Boxer was pleased that the Senate passed the Coburn-Grassley-Boxer amendment, which will keep patent fees at the Patent and Trademark Office to help reduce the backlog of unprocessed patent applications. The amendment was included in the manager’s package of the patent bill last week.
The current backlog at the office is 1.2 million patent applications, and of those, 700,000 applications have not received a preliminary examination. In 2010, the average time for an application to be reviewed and approved or denied was approximately 35 months. Allowing the Patent and Trademark Office to keep its user fees will help the agency move quickly to address this backlog.