August's featured article

A Message from the Associate Commissioner

By Richard Maulsby : Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development

If consideration of patent reform legislation were a football game, it would now be first and goal on the one-yard line. In June, the House joined the Senate in passing a patent reform bill by a wide margin. These bills would bring the greatest changes to this nation's patent system since 1836. That was the year Congress passed a bill changing the granting of patents from a registration to an examination system.

However, there are still some differences in the two bills, in part dealing with USPTO's access to all its fee collections, that must somehow be reconciled. The ball is now in the Senate's court and if it does not act before the summer recess, it is expected to do so in the fall. The Senate can simply accept the House version of the bill, and there is reason to hope that they will do so, in which case the legislation would go to the president for his signature and become law.

In anticipation of the changes and rulemaking that will be required under the legislation, the USPTO has posted a timeline and other materials on its website. The implementation of the legislation will require a lot of hard work and attention to detail. Stakeholder input will be an extremely important part of the process. We hope that everyone who reads Inventors Eye will take a moment to review the information posted on the website. In the coming months, if and when the Leahy-Smith American Invents Act becomes law, there will be an opportunity for all of you to provide input during the public comment period as the USPTO implements various provisions of the new law.

I hope you enjoy the August-September issue of Inventors Eye. I look forward to seeing many of our readers at theCalifornia Regional Inventors Conference on August 12-13 in Pasadena.

Associate Commissioner Richard Maulsby

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The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.