Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank and Under Secretary of
Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos today presented patent no. 8 million to
Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., for a visual prosthesis apparatus that
enhances visual perception for people who have gone blind due to outer retinal
degeneration. Following the signing, company President and CEO Robert Greenberg
demonstrated the new product, Argus® II.
The ceremony underscored the critical role the U.S. patent
system plays in fostering American innovation and economic competitiveness and
comes as Congress is acting to make the most significant reforms to the system
in more than half a century. Patent reform legislation currently before
Congress – the America Invents Act – will help create new jobs by simplifying
the process inventors face for getting a patent, while making the system more
transparent and reducing costly and time-consuming litigation.
The bill is an essential tool to bring the patent system and
the USPTO into the 21st century and to continue to unleash the innovation,
ingenuity and creativity that has made America the envy of the world.
Strong and clear patent rights are especially vital to small and new
businesses, which create 2 out of every 3 American jobs. Successful inventors
need to secure patent rights to access capital, hire employees and lift their
companies off the ground. Put simply, patents are crucial to creating new jobs,
new industries and new economic opportunities for Americans.
Specifically, the America Invents Act:
- Allows the USPTO to set its own fees to recover
the actual costs of the services it provides, and keep and reserve those fees
exclusively for the USPTO’s use – a major part of ensuring that the agency has
- Enables the USPTO to hire more examiners and
bring its IT system into the 21st century so it can process applications more
quickly and produce higher quality patents that are less likely to be subject
to a court challenge;
- Decreases the likelihood of expensive litigation
because it creates a less costly, in-house administrative alternative to review
patent validity claims; and,
- Adopts the “first-inventor-to-file” standard as
opposed to the current “first-to-invent” standard. First inventor to file is
used by the rest of the world, and would be good for U.S. businesses, providing a more
transparent and cost-effective process that is consistent with the practices of
our economic competitors.
Taken together, the reforms outlined in the America Invents
Act create a better architecture for fostering American innovation and
accelerating the delivery of innovative goods and services to the marketplace.
It also gives the Patent Office the tools and resources it needs to serve America’s
innovators by granting high-quality patents in a more timely fashion.