Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Commerce -> Patent & Trademark Office


ItemCommerce
Patent & Trademark OfficeGrade
CO-7
The Promise: "...update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:The House Patent Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 1260) was introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) on 03/03/09 and was heard by the House Subcommittee on Judiciary on 04/30/09. No further action was taken on this bill.

On the Senate side, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill on 03/03/09 (S.515) with the same title which was reported to the Senate on 04/02/09 and again on 05/12/09. With the adjournment of the 111th Congress at the end of CY2010, both proposed bills expired.

Senator Leahy was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11. While this new law is strong on patent reform but weak on copyright reform, it is a major step in the right direction and constitutes tangible progress toward promise fulfillment.
0.75
CO-8
The Promise: "...will improve "predictability and clarity in our patent system" helping to "foster an environment that encourages innovation."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11.

Section 3 of this new law improves the patent system from a "first to invent" to a "first inventor to file" system. When combined with the other provisions of this new law, the promise to improve "predictability and clarity in our patent system" was fulfilled.

The only aspect of "predictability" that is compromised is the backlog of patent applications and time it takes for the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) to process those applications. As of 04/16, the PTO had a backlog of 550,000 applications, taking 16 to 26 months to process.

Nonetheless, this promise was fulfilled.
1.00
CO-9
The Promise: "...giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation..."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11.

Section 11 of this new law sets the fees for the different aspects of patent application, examination, processing and appeal and states that "All fees...shall be credited to the United States Patent and Trademark Office Appropriation Account" and "shall remain available until expended...". Section 22 of the new law goes further by establishing a Patent and Trademark Fee Reserve Fund where funds exceeding the amount appropriated to the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) on an annual basis are deposited for later use by the PTO.

Throughout this new law are contained guidelines for public review.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
CO-10
The Promise: "...will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.""
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress, was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11, and is a significant step forward to protect the interests of patent filers while promoting innovation and collaboration.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00