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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
BLOCK: America has a new patent law. President Obama signed the America Invents Act today.
BARACK OBAMA: If we want startups here and if we want established companies, like a DuPont or a Eli Lily to continue to make products here and hire here, then we're going to have to be able to compete with any other country around the world. So this patent bill will encourage that innovation.
BLOCK: NPR's Laura Sydell joins me now to talk about the bill. And, Laura, what does this bill do?
LAURA SYDELL: And supposedly it will speed up the process of filing for patents, which right now, there is something like 700,000 applications that are backlogged in the Patent Office.
BLOCK: So when they're talking about creating jobs, well, they're hiring some more patent inspectors, so that's some jobs right there.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
BLOCK: What is the broader goal in terms of job creation here?
SYDELL: Well, this is what they say. What they say is if we speed things up and we get that backlog cleared up, then there are all these startups that are just waiting to move to the next phase of financing and get their products to market. And they'll be able to do that and they'll hire people in the process. So that's what they're saying.
BLOCK: And what about those businesses, Laura, or inventors, entrepreneurs - do they think that the law will, in fact, encourage hiring, make them hire more people?
SYDELL: The Patent Office has granted, for example, in 2000, they granted a patent for a method of making toast. Really, seriously.
BLOCK: Laura, what other solutions would there be to this problem of bad patents that you're talking about that wouldn't involve Congress?
SYDELL: I think a lot of people wish Congress would revisit this soon. And they're worried that because they just granted and created this new act it'll be a long time before Congress steps in again, which really would be the fastest and most efficient way to address the problem.
BLOCK: Laura, thanks very much.
SYDELL: You're welcome.
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