- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2011

Capping a rare week of bipartisanship in Washington, President Obama on Friday signed into law a measure that is designed to revamp the way patents are won in the U.S., and which its backers said could spur creation of jobs.

“It’s a bill that will put a dent int he huge stack of patent applications waiting for review,” Mr. Obama said before signing the bill at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school in Fairfax County.

The bill passed the Senate 89-9 last week, after passing the House 304-117 in June — both strong bipartisan votes.

Key to the bill is changing the U.S. from a first-to-invent patent system to a first-to-file system for applications. Some have objected, arguing the new system could run afoul of the Constitution and will favor big companies over independent inventors.

But the move brings the U.S. in line with most of the rest of the world.

The patent bill was the latest bipartisan move this week, following passage of a short-term extension of both the Federal Aviation Administration and federal highway funding through both the House and Senate.

Mr. Obama used his signing Friday also to push for his jobs-stimulus plan, which he said would be the short-term complement to the new patent law.

“Send me the American Jobs Act right away,” Mr. Obama said.

His $447 billion bill contains new short-term spending and tax cuts, and would be paid for by $467 billion in new long-term tax increases.

The biggest of those tax increases is a limit on how much wealthier taxpayers can claim in deductions, which both Democrats and Republicans have opposed in the past, fearing one consequence would be fewer charitable donations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has introduced the president’s bill in the Senate, but has not set a schedule for bringing it to the floor, saying there are other bills he wants to get to first.

In the House, which is run by Republicans, GOP leaders have said they want to see an official score from the Congressional Budget Office before committees begin to examine the legislation.

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