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Businesses Split Over National Patent Reform

Publication Date: 
March 03, 2011
California Watch
Kendall Taggart

Professor Mark Lemley is quoted in the following article on the Patent Reform Act (S.B. 23). California Watch's Kendall Taggart reports:

As new patent reform legislation is debated on the U.S. Senate floor this week, California businesses are divided over the bill.

If the Patent Reform Act (SB 23) passes, it would be the biggest change to the U.S. patent system since 1952, in the days before Silicon Valley was a magnet for the high-tech industry.

The most significant change proposed is the switch from a first-to-invent to a first-inventor-to-file system, used by most other countries. On Wednesday afternoon, California senators pushed to strip this measure from the bill. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said after listening to the California tech industry, she is "convinced this is the wrong thing to do," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.


"Individuals and small businesses are worried that large companies will beat them in a race to the patent office under a first-to-file system," said Stanford's Lemley. "In fact, though, the empirical evidence suggests that the first-to-invent system does not benefit individuals and small businesses; it is more costly and requires better record-keeping, which individual inventors often don't do."