Overhaul Expected To Speed Patent Process

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Congress has approved the most significant changes to patent law in half a century. The Senate passed the overhaul Thursday, and it goes to the White House for President Obama's signature. In his jobs speech to Congress, Obama said the new law would speed up the patent process.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with an overhaul of U.S. patent law.

(Soundbite of music)

GREENE: Congress has approved the most significant changes to patent law in half a century. The Senate passed the overhaul yesterday, and it now goes to the White House for President Obama's signature. In his jobs speech last night, the president said the new law will speed up the patent process.

President BARACK OBAMA: So that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That's the kind of action we need.

GREENE: The new law also aims to reduce legal battles by switching from a first to invent to a first to file system, meaning the patent is awarded to the person who first files their invention with the patent office.

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