2018 was a significant year in patent news. In this post, we share four key moments that you should know about.
- On June 19th, the United States celebrated the commemoration of its 10 millionth patent. The occasion was held at George Washington’s estate in Mt. Vernon, where a rebuilt version of Washington’s Patent 3X (the third official U.S. patent) is in operation today.
- Major pro-patent legislation was introduced to Congress. These mostly bipartisan efforts include the Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act, the Inventor Protection Act, and, most importantly, the STRONGER Patents Act. The STRONGER Patents Act represents the diverse interests of inventors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, universities and venture capitalists, to name a few, and its primary goal is to protect the rights of inventors and improve America’s patent system. Specifically, the bill contains provisions to:
- Ensure injunctions are available to inventors whose IP is infringed upon
- Limit repetitive and harassing challenges against inventors in Patent Office administrative proceedings
- End fee diversion and restore crucial funding to the USPTO
- Speaking of the USPTO, in February, Andrei Iancu assumed the position of director of the agency. Director Iancu is a strong champion for inventors and has already made several administrative changes to improve the predictability and reliability of the U.S. patent system and promote American innovation.
- The U.S. slumped again in global innovation and patent strength rankings. The Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center now ranks the U.S. in 12th place for patent system strength, and Bloomberg’s Innovation Index now has the U.S. in 11th place in innovation. Though the introduction of new pro-patent legislation and a strong USPTO Director suggest a promising change, there is still much work to be done to ensure our patent system continues to function as a driver of economic prosperity.