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Senate Passes Patent Reform Bill, and President Obama Offers Praise in Jobs Speech to Congress

September 8, 2011

The U.S. Senate on Sept. 8 passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), bipartisan legislation that updates the U.S. patent system for the first time in almost 60 years. Later in the day, President Obama addressed the Congress in a jobs speech and offered his praise to lawmakers for their work on this historic legislation.

When signed by President Obama, the enactment of this legislation will be the nation’s first major patent reform since 1952. In his jobs speech to Congress, Obama said:

Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.  If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers.  I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words:  “Made in America.”  That’s what we need to get done.

Upon Senate passage of this bill by an 89 to 9 vote, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a press release that the America Invents Act is a “true jobs bill at a time when we need it the most.  After six long years of debate spanning three Congresses and two administrations, it is finally set to become law.  This is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will spur the innovation that drives the American economy.”

Leahy continued:

The creativity that drives our economic engine has made America the global leader in invention and innovation.  The America Invents Act will ensure that inventors large and small maintain the competitive edge that has put America at the pinnacle of global innovation.  This is historic legislation.  It is good policy.  And it is long overdue to be signed into law.

Leahy called House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) a “true partner” in helping push this bill through Congress and said that this bill is evidence of what “we can accomplish when we cast aside political ideology, and work together for the American people.”

Smith said in a press release that he was glad to have finally “crossed the finish line on patent reform.”

Smith added:

Today’s vote is a victory for America’s innovators and job creators who rely on our patent system to develop new products and grow their businesses. These reforms constitute the most significant change to U.S. patent law in 175 years, since the Patent Act of 1836. And when President Obama signs the bill into law, H.R. 1249 will be one of the most significant jobs creation bills enacted by Congress this year.


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