Senate Approves Patent Reform Bill

The Senate approved a patent reform bill by an overwhelming margin Thursday—removing another hurdle in the six-year battle to overhaul the system. Senators on both sides of the aisle applauded the bill, which they say will create jobs and unclog the backlog of about 700,000 patents waiting to be approved. The America Invents Act sets up a whole new system to review patents, and gives more flexibility to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to set and spend fees paid by the inventors when they are seeking patents and trademarks. The bill has the support of many of the companies responsible for some of the biggest innovations in recent years, such as Apple, Google, and Facebook. But one of the bill’s detractors, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, said it “sides with the big corporations over the little guys.”