The U.S. Senate is set to debate proposed comprehensive patent reform when it returns from recess on February 28.
The Patent Reform Act of 2011, which was introduced on January 25 by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, includes provisions designed to make the process of filing and receiving patents easier.
Under the proposed reform, the U.S. patent system would move from a "first-to-invent" model to a "first-to-file" model, according to a recent Main Justice report.
"Reforming the nation's antiquated patent system will promote American innovation, create American jobs and grow America's economy," Leahy said. "I am pleased that the Senate will consider the Patent Reform Act after the recess."
According to Leahy, "hundreds of thousands of patent applications are stalled at the Patent and Trademark Office. Among those is the application for the next great innovation."
Earlier, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and a number of other leading Democrats included the legislation in a package of bills designed to encourage innovation. According to their agenda, reform is necessary in order to enable American innovators to compete in the global marketplace.