Chairman Smith Named “Policymaker of the Year”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) was honored at an event last night in Washington, D.C. for his efforts to enact patent reform legislation in 2011. Chairman Smith was named a “Policymaker of the Year” in Technology for his work on the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), a bill that updates America’s patent system to encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth.
Congressman Smith is one of two members of the House of Representatives to receive the award from POLITICO, a national publication covering Capitol Hill. Other policymakers honored at the event included EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Policymaker of the Year in Energy; and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Policymaker of the Year in Health Care.
Sponsored by Chairman Smith and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the America Invents Act is the only major tech legislation to become law in 2011. The bill was approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Obama on September 16, 2011. Congressman Smith has led efforts in Congress on patent reform for more than six years.
Chairman Smith: “The enactment of the America Invents Act is a victory for America’s innovators and job creators who rely on our patent system to develop new products. This bill brings our patent system into the 21st century, reduces frivolous litigation and streamlines the approval of patents. These reforms will help the innovators and job creators of today launch the products and businesses of tomorrow.”
POLITICO issued the following statement regarding Chairman Smith and Chairman Leahy’s work on patent reform:
“If politics is truly ‘the art of the possible,’ then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith made art out of politics this year by shepherding through the first major patent reform law in six decades.
“The Vermont Democrat and the Texas Republican faced some steep odds: a bitterly divided Congress, jurisdictional concerns of competing committees and disputes between the pharmaceutical and tech lobbies. But in the end, their America Invents Act became the only major piece of tech legislation passed in 2011 — and offered proof that a bipartisan approach to legislation can still work.”
The America Invents Act implements a first-inventor-to-file standard for patent approval, creates a post-grant review system to eliminate bad patents, and helps the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) address the backlog of patent applications. The new law is supported by many national organizations and businesses. The full list is available here.
For more information about the America Invents Act please visit: http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/issues_patentreformact2011.html