Patent overhaul cuts fee for small inventors
S. 23, America Invents Act of 2011 was co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, and Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX. It mandates a reduction of fees by 50% for small entities and 75% for micro-entities.
Other provisions are designed to reduce wasteful challenges, which have often been used by large companies to tie up small inventors.
As deputy undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property from 2009 to 2011, Sharon Barner played a key role in the Obama administration's negotiations on the bill.
The rising interest in intellectual property law among African-American attorneys and scientists meant an array of veteran IP practitioners were involved in the process. Two other selectees among the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, are Darrell G. Mottley, president of the District of Columbia Bar, and Philip G. Hampton of Dickstein Shapiro is co-chair of the American Bar Association's Trademark Legislation Committee.
A backlog of 750,000 applications has hampered innovation. Delays particularly impact inventors without extensive outside capital. Studies indicate that each patent produces from three to ten new jobs.