Although many of the same faces will occupy the halls of power in the nation's capital in the coming months and years, many are expecting important changes to follow the latest round of appointments and elections. Innovation community stakeholders are monitoring this transitional period intently as they look toward the final stages of the America Invents Act's implementation and beyond.
Political progress is rarely a unilateral process, but President Barack Obama has largely been considered an advocate for patent reform. As IP Watchdog's Gene Quinn suggested, the U.S. patent system now runs more efficiently and effectively than at any time during the Bush Administration. But while support from the executive branch is certainly welcome, action at the legislative level is much more telling.
As Texas Representative Lamar Smith recently noted, the reforms that ultimately comprised the America Invents Act required seven separate attempts to "get out of Congress." Legislative efficiency may only be inhibited during so-called lame duck sessions, and periods of partisan gridlock.
As a result, PatentlyO's Dennis Crouch believes that the prioritization of intellectual property management issues during the next few weeks could be indicative of trends seen in the coming years. With Congress exploring a variety of scenarios in the face of a fiscal cliff, it will be interesting to see if and how USPTO budgets are affected. Then, as the 2013 legislative session begins in earnest, AIA technical amendments and the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 could quickly be revisited.