The United States Patent and Trade Office (PTO) just released their “Study and Report on the Implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA).” They deserve a round of applause for their hard work implementing this landmark piece of legislation.
Signed into law in 2011, the AIA was the first major change to the Patent System in 50 years. When it was enacted, we believed that it would modernize our laws to take into account the global nature of our patent system. We hoped it would provide clarity and better certainty for both patent owners and those looking to manufacture or provide new services. Because of the work by the PTO in implementing this legislation, both have occurred.
Under the exceptional leadership of Director Lee, the PTO is doing a commendable job of implementing the AIA. They beat virtually every deadline set by the legislation and they did so in an impressive manner. This included transitioning from a “first to invent” system to a “first inventor to file” system and setting up three brand new patent review programs to more efficiently challenge the validity of patents. The Report highlights the steps the PTO has taken to implement the law and provides recommendations to Congress on how to further improve or tweak the legislation to help the PTO fulfill its mission. Most notably, the PTO recommends that Congress:
- should not extend the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents (pgs 37-39) and
- should only make minor, clarifying changes to the Inter Partes Review system (pgs 33-35).
BSA commends the PTO on this report; beyond that, BSA commends the PTO for all of their hard work taking a complicated piece of legislation and putting it into practice.