WASHINGTON, June 23, 2011 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) said Thursday that for a nation facing a looming deficit and difficult cuts to entitlements, passing H.R. 1249 and streamlining America’s patent application process is one of the single-most productive steps Congress can take to improve the economy.
“Congress faces many difficult choices as they grapple with the deficit and balance entitlements and cuts, but unleashing our nation’s ability to innovate from stifling patent policies has no downside — the only result is new economic opportunity,” said ACS President Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D. “Currently more than 1.2 million patent applications are backlogged. That’s a lot of American ingenuity waiting to hit the streets!”
H.R. 1249, the America Invests Act, would establish essential changes in how patent applications are reviewed and awarded and would keep patent application fees with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). H.R. 1249 is expected to come up this week in the House and is the counterpart to the Senate’s S.23 America Invents Act that passed by a vote of 95-5 on March 8 of this year.
In recent decades, patent fees have been diverted from the PTO and rolled into the federal budget to pay for other shortfalls, thus preventing the PTO from hiring enough examiners to review patent applications in a timely manner. On average, it takes three years for a patent application to be reviewed.
“And by then, someone else may have captured the business opportunity and the jobs — often someone overseas,” said Jackson. “We must end fee diversion; we can no longer afford hold back our job creators. Patent reform is the fuel for innovation and rebuilding America. ACS applauds the bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for changing our patent laws and ensuring we remain competitive in the global arena of discovery and economic opportunity.”