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Innovating our System for Innovation

Today President Obama signs the historic Leahy-Smith America Invents Act

The United States is engineered for innovation. Economic competition may be tougher than ever. But whether curing diseases, soaring into an age of flight, or navigating the digital age from the palms of our hands, it is American inventors who have led the world to historic discovery. And in the years to come, these inventors will continue to unleash tidal waves of new jobs in new industries.  

In order to write the next chapters of growth and remain the world’s chief global competitor, we must embolden our role as the world’s inventive visionaries. We must smartly and immediately invest in the very infrastructure that fosters the American innovative potential.

That’s why it’s so exciting that President Obama today is signing the historic Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to hear directly from store owners, entrepreneurs, and inventors from coast to coast over the past several months. One thing remains certain:  there is no shortage of great ideas in America. 

But there are barriers to getting those ideas off the ground.  Reforming the U.S. patent system will enable businesses of all sizes to obtain clearer and more reliable intellectual property rights in a more expedient fashion, so they can attract investments, develop their products, and hire employees sooner.

Since the founding of our Nation, well-defined and secure patent rights have enabled creative thinkers to protect their ideas. But in the past 50 years we have seen more technological advancements than in any point in history, with no comprehensive patent reform to keep up. The America Invents Act equips the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to streamline and modernize its operations while strengthening IP protections.

For investors, patents are strong indicators of market potential for new companies. And for inventors, they are essential to attracting the venture capital to develop and distribute their products to society. An efficiently operating IP system that processes applications and issues high-quality patents quickly is especially vital to small and new businesses, which create two out of every three new American jobs.

 By transitioning to a simpler, more objective, and more inventor-friendly system of issuing patents, the new Act helps ensure that independent inventors and small entities have greater clarity and certainty over their property rights and will be able to navigate the patent system on a more equitable footing with large enterprises.

The Act also establishes a new in-house review process for challenging patents—a process that is faster and significantly cheaper than litigation, which too often stymies technological growth. By resolving disputes about patent rights earlier, more efficiently, and at lower cost, we can  add greater certainty to—and cultivate greater confidence it—the American patent system.

That confidence, in turn, will invite more companies to do business in the United States and inspire individuals to work towards the next great medical and technological  breakthroughs that will ensure America’s leadership for decades to come.

Have questions on the America Invents Act? Today, I'll be answering your questions with USPTO Director David Kappos during an Open for Questions event on Join us live at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 16th. Here's how it works and how you can participate: