Griffin: Patent Bill Is a Jobs Bill

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after voting in favor of the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), a comprehensive bill to unleash innovation and job creation by streamlining operations at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and reducing costly and abusive patent litigation:

 “Make no mistake, the America Invents Act is a jobs bill that is long overdue.  It has been 60 years since Congress has substantively addressed patent reform. Today’s bill has the support of over 235 business associations because it will unleash innovation, which will bring with it new private-sector jobs. 

 “I am particularly pleased that my provision, which will help small business inventors navigate the process of obtaining a patent, was included in today’s bill.  It will ensure that small businesses have an advocate through this sometimes complicated and burdensome process.”

The PTO created a temporary program in 2010 designed to make the process of obtaining a patent more efficient by offering consultations to inventors who believe they have hit a dead end. PTO Director David Kappos has described the program as a new and innovative way for the PTO to improve customer service with patent applicants and their representatives. Under current law, this trial program ended on April 7, 2011. Griffin’s provision makes this program permanent using existing funds.

 During last night’s debate of H.R. 1249, Congressman Griffin delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the bill:

 “I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, and I urge my colleagues to support it. Make no mistake: The America Invents Act is a jobs bill.  At no cost to taxpayers, passing this bill today builds on what we as Americans do best: we innovate. 

 “Bolstering American innovation will create jobs at a time when we need it most.  The America Invents Act ends fee diversion and switches the U.S. to a first-inventor-to-file system.  These changes will streamline the application process to help American innovators bring their inventions to market.  Each new commercialized invention has the potential to create American jobs.  This is a jobs bill.

 “A provision I worked on, included in the bill, would make permanent the PTO’s Ombudsman Program for Small Business Concerns.  This program will provide support and services for independent inventors who may not have the resources to obtain legal counsel for guidance on obtaining a patent.  This provision ensures that the small guys will always have a champion at the PTO to help them navigate the process.

 “In addition, the America Invents Act finally puts an end to fee diversion – a practice that has siphoned almost a billion dollars in fees from the PTO over the past 20 years.  Too many patent applications have sat untouched for years because the PTO does not have the resources it needs to review them in a timely manner.  Ending fee diversion will expedite their review and unleash their potential to create American jobs.  

 “It is endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. 

 “I urge my colleagues to support this jobs bill, I thank the Chairman for the time, and I yield back.”