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Lame-Duck Patent Reform Goes Almost Entirely Unnoticed

With most lawmakers focused on the so called "fiscal cliff" during the current lame duck session of Congress, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has quietly once again proposed legislation to reform the United States patent system. This time, few seem to have noticed. Perhaps this is due to the larger looming fiscal issues before Congress or perhaps because the bill seeks mostly minor changes to the America Invents Act (AIA) and does not address the industry's more pressing concerns regarding the AIA's new first-inventor-to-file system. Nevertheless, some of the proposed amendments raise a host of difficult questions that, if debated, might make the bill's passage difficult. If the bill does reach the President's desk, it may be because few people noticed.