The Senate yesterday passed the America Invents Act (S. 23) by a vote of 87-3.Although some provisions were dropped, the Senate bill retained the following key elements:
- Third party submissions of prior art for pending applications;
- USPTO fee setting authority;
- Supplemental examination authority;
- Repeal of the residency requirement for Federal Circuit judges;
- Micro entity status for reduced fees;
- Unpatentability of tax strategies as within the prior art;
- Elimination of the best mode defense;
- Creation of a special post-grant review for business method patents;
- USPTO authority to establish satellite offices;
- Creation of a USPTO ombudsman; and
- USPTO authority to prioritize examination of inventions of national importance.
Focus now will move to the Judiciary in the House of Representatives. In the House, the Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) are preparing the House version of the legislation.