Obama Signs Patent Bill, Touts Its Job-Creating Potential

President Obama signed the America Invents Act today, a law that he said will streamline the patent system, allow inventors to attract investment and, ultimately, create jobs and make the United States more competitive. 

“We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into new jobs and new businesses,” Obama said at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. “We can’t afford to drag our feet any longer, not at a time when we should be doing everything we can to create good middle-class jobs to put Americans back to work.  We have always succeeded because we have been the most dynamic, innovative economy in the world.  That has to be encouraged.  That has to be continued.” 

The president said the bill will ease the backlog of patents, shorten the approval process, which he said is now an average of three years, and bring down the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate. The legislation, which marks the first change to patent law since 1952, is also aimed at reducing  costly legal battles for patents and will transition the United States from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system. 

“Over the last decade, patent applications have nearly tripled, and because the patent office doesn’t have the resources to deal with all of them, right now there are about 700,000 applications that haven’t even been opened yet. Now, these are jobs and businesses of the future just waiting to be created,” Obama said. 

As expected, the president also took the opportunity to make his pitch for “another bill I want [Congress] to get passed to help the economy right away,” his $447 billion American Jobs Act.   

“We came together to pass patent reform; we should be able to come together to also put people back to work,” he said.