IPWatchdogThose of us watching – and participating – in patent reform legislation were surprised and delighted to see U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., repeatedly reference an article Inventors Digest friend and supporter Gene Quinn wrote in his IPWatchdog blog on Sunday.

You can read Gene’s insightful commentary at IPWatchdog.com.

The Senate resumed deliberation on the on-again, off-again patent reform legislation on Monday. Congress has wrestled with patent reform since at least 2005. But an increasing backlog of patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – and no small amount of lobbying by proponents and opponents – has thrust the issue back into play.

In his Sunday post, Gene rightly notes that much of the rancor again centers on the proposed change to “first inventor to file” vs. “first to invent.”

Patent reform has huge implications for independent inventors and startups. Many are concerned moving to first-inventor-to-file will leave them at a disadvantage to large corporations.

Gene doesn’t necessarily see it that way:

“I see no reason why we cannot have a first inventor to file system that does away with Interference proceedings, awards patents to the first inventor who files a patent application but which also preserves a 12 month grace period under current law,” he says in his post.

Gene also is correct in pointing out that “regardless of whether first to file is supported or opposed everyone, and I do mean everyone, unanimously agrees that the USPTO should be allowed to keep the fees it collects to reinvest in the agency and to do the work promised.  An overwhelming majority also seem to support giving the USPTO fee setting authority.”

See Senator Kyl’s remarks about first to file (starting at 1:38:31) go to:


USPTO Director David Kappos talked to Inventors Digest at length regarding this contentious element a little over a year ago:

“First inventor-to-file still requires that you make the invention. So there’s no risk of losing an invention by way of derivation.

“Second thing to understand is that the U.S. is already on a first inventor-to-file system, and let me tell you why. Out of all the patent applications that get filed in this country, I think it’s .01 percent, only this incredibly small number ever make it to interference. Most of the things you do in your life have much greater probability than ever getting involved in an interference.

“Stack on top of that the fact that if you do get into an interference, you’re about 70 percent likely to win it if you’re the first to have filed the patent application. Even if you do nothing – you don’t even have to show up – you are 70 percent likely to win if you’re the first to file a patent application.

“You’re only 30 percent likely to win if you’re the second to file. If you add to that the fact only a small fraction of patents are filed by the small inventor community, you are well into the lightning strike probability (of getting into an interference proceeding).”

See his full remarks on the subject at https://www.inventorsdigest.com/?p=2639

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