Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are using the popular cry for jobs to promote patent reform legislation.
Their bill, now named "The Patent Reform Act; Promoting American Innovation, Creating American Jobs, Growing America’s Economy," is set to hit the floor late Monday afternoon.
Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the bill’s measure to prevent the diversion of fees collected for patent registrations to other federal agencies would allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to process a backlog of about 700,000 applications — thus creating jobs.
“It is a critical part of our jobs agenda,” Leahy said last week. “Hundreds of thousands of patent applications are stalled at the Patent and Trademark Office. Among those is the application for the next great invention."
Companies or individuals must currently pay between $500 and $1,000 to apply for a patent. The Patent Office is completely fee-funded, and Congress diverts tens of millions of dollars a year to other federal projects.
A barrage of e-mails from the Judiciary Committee’s press office in the days leading up to the introduction have also emphasized the bill’s job-creation potential.
"Updating our patent system … must be a component of the government’s efforts to bolster economic development, sustain American innovation, and protect American jobs," according to one e-mail Monday.
It remains unclear how much work will be done on the patent reform bill this week, and how much will be displaced by the budget extension fight.