The office's proposal includes three changes to the patent application process, all designed to reduce paperwork and regulatory burdens for people filing for U.S. patents.
Patent reform has been a long-term goal of the administration's, and President Obama has advocated for patent simplification. "When Thomas Edison filed his patent for the photograph, his application was approved in just seven weeks," he said at the 2011 signing of a separate patent reform bill. "And these days, that process is taking an average of three years."
The Patent Law Treaty was adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2000 and entered into force in 2005. The treaty intends to harmonize the patent applications process across international borders and reduce red tape.
The notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, and the Patent Office will accept comments for 60 days.