Microsoft has time and again voiced support for the introduction of what it calls sensible reforms to the United States patent system, and the company is now urging the Senate to pass HR 1249 without amendment.The software giant is among the supporters of the legislation dubbed ‘America Invents Act’ in its current form, and believes it should not be altered, according to Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president & deputy general counsel, Microsoft.
Designed to modernize the U.S. patent system, HR 1249 already passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote on June 23, 2011.
Gutierrez underlined three key goals of the ‘America Invents Act’ on the road to patent reform, namely:
“• Ensuring that the USPTO, a user-fee funded agency, has access to the funding it needs to continue to improve patent quality and reduce application pendency;
• Moving the U.S. to adopt a “first inventor to file” system, enabling greater harmonization of patent processes with those of other countries that already follow this approach; and
• Establishing additional administrative tools, including a new post-grant review procedure, to help eliminate questionable patents.”
Investing in excess of $9 billion per year in research and development, Microsoft has witnessed its patent portfolio grow to impressive proportions, easily dwarfing those of its rivals.
And the Redmond company has on more than one occasions been at both ends of the patent gun, receiving compensation for its innovations user in other products, but also paying to leverage the intellectual property of others.
In this context, Microsoft is simply an exponent of innovators that need the patent reform delivered with the ‘America Invents Act’.
“HR 1249’s reforms in these areas will ensure that innovators in our troubled economy can benefit from a predictable and rational patent system, with new tools to eliminate patents that should not have issued and to speed the processing of patents that should be issued,” Gutierrez added.
“A fair, balanced and effective patent system is indispensable to promoting R&D investment, job creation, and economic growth. The time to enact this important measure is now.”