Last night, the Senate passed (by an overwhelming bipartisan vote 95-5) the America Invents Act of 2011 (Patent Reform) -- bringing us one step closer to a stronger, more transparent patent system.
A strong U.S. intellectual property foundation, including patents, can create a competitive advantage for the U.S., driving innovation and creating jobs around the country (plus a system that protects and provides incentive to inventors).
Lilly has long supported, and will continue to support, measures to reform the patent system. Why? For many reasons:
- Economic competitiveness - we believe a strong patent system is crucial to America's competitiveness.
- Medical innovation - maintaining America's leadership in medical innovation will allow us to bring new treatments to market while building upon our economic footprint. In the biopharmaceutical industry alone, we employ more than 650,000 people and support more than 3 million jobs.
The America Invents Actof 2011 offers several provisions that would change the patent process in the right way, including:
- "First-inventor-to-file" - Changing the patent process from a "first-to-invent" system to a "first-inventor-to-file" system (awarding the patent to the application that is first filed) injects fairness and clarity into the process.
- Fees - Ending the practice of diverting U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) fees that are needed to help alleviate the 1.2 million backlog of applications.
The U.S. Senate has taken the first step to reform the patent system. We urge the House of Representatives to take up this important issue and work with the Senate to deliver a comprehensive bill to the President. Inventors and consumers, including patients with unmet medical needs, both win with a more transparent, objective, predictible and simple patent system.
The time to act is now.