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IBM Commends House Approval of Patent Reform Legislation; Urges Quick Adoption
Jun 23, 2011 (06:06 PM EDT)

H.R. 1249 will improve the U.S. patent system and spur innovation

ARMONK, N.Y., June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today praised passage of The America Invents Act (H.R. 1249) by the U.S. House of Representatives, which will significantly improve the U.S. patent system, enhance American competitiveness in the global economy, and help to spur job growth.

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The House and Senate are nearing a consensus on patent reform and the legislation has never been closer to becoming law. For 100 years, IBM has maintained a commitment to invention and innovation that has generated more than 75,000 U.S. patents. As the top U.S. patent recipient for the last 18 years, and the largest user of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, IBM urges quick adoption of the legislation to preserve American innovation leadership and spur economic growth.

"The leadership and commitment of Representative Smith and others has forged a patent bill that addresses the interests of all innovators – large and small – and represents real progress on patent reform," said Christopher A. Padilla, vice president of Government Programs for IBM.  "Now is the time to act to ensure the America Invents Act will modernize our nation's patent system, stimulate innovation and strengthen U.S. competitiveness around the world."

The America Invents Act, which President Obama has said he will sign into law, will achieve the most significant update to our nation's patent system in almost 60 years. The legislation balances the concerns of inventors of all sizes in all industries, and provides the patent office the resources and tools it needs to significantly enhance patent quality.

The America Invents Act is substantially consistent with patent legislation recently approved by the U.S. Senate in a landslide 95-5 vote. IBM has been a leading supporter of patent reform and believes the common-sense set of reforms strikes a careful balance among various users of the U.S. patent system.

The ability to secure and protect the intellectual property rights that result from  innovations is important to all inventors, but it currently takes up to three years or more for a patent application to navigate the patent system. Patent examiners are overburdened by an avalanche of pending applications for inventions in increasingly complex areas, such as biotechnology and information technology. The result is a backlog of pending applications that stunts our nation's innovation and economic competitiveness.

The reasonable set of reforms proposed by the House and Senate will help ease the burden on patent examiners and significantly improve the quality of patents issued to inventors.

Chris Andrews
IBM Media Relations