"We can no longer stand on 1950s a patent system and expect our innovators to flourish in a 21st century world," said Leahy from the Senate floor. "Let's unleash the genius of the American people and our inventors in the United States of America."
Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report RNC head: Dems acting ‘petty’ to Gorsuch Dems delay Senate panel vote on Supreme Court nominee MORE (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, also urged his colleagues to vote for the bill by saying it would act as a job-creating stimulus to the economy.
"It will enhance transparency and patent quality and improve certainty in the patent process," said Grassley. "It will provide stimulus for American business and, obviously, help create jobs."
If cleared by the Senate and signed by Obama, the America Invents Act, H.R. 1249, would change the U.S. from a first-to-invent to a first-inventor-to-file patent system, a move proponents say would bring the U.S. patent system closer to systems already used by most of the rest of the world.
Only five senators voted against the bill: Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnDon't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways MORE (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonLawmakers share photos of their dogs in honor of National Puppy Day GOP targets Baldwin over Wisconsin VA scandal The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Wis.), Mike LeeMike LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Defense: General says US strike probably led to civilian deaths | Tillerson to push NATO on spending | Trump taps F-35 chief Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRand PaulTrump: 'No doubt' we'll make a deal on healthcare Overnight Defense: General says US strike probably led to civilian deaths | Tillerson to push NATO on spending | Trump taps F-35 chief Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership MORE (R-Ky.). Coburn in particular opposed the House bill because it did not include Senate language that he says would ensure all fees collected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stay with that office and be used for patent processing, not for other purposes.
Supporters say so-called "fee diversion" would end under the House bill, and have said there has been no significant fee diversion in the last decade. But Coburn and several industry groups disagree, and believe the House bill leaves open the chance that USPTO fees could be spent on other priorities.