Bennet Successfully Pushes to Reduce Patent Costs for Small Colorado Inventors, Entrepreneurs

50% Discount for Small Businesses Would Make it Easier for Entrepreneurs to Create Jobs in Colorado's Innovation Economy

Washington, DC – In a bid to help small businesses get innovative technologies to market more quickly, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, is leading a push to slash their cost for expedited patents by 50 percent and make it easier for Colorado inventors and entrepreneurs to secure capital and create high-paying jobs.  The Senate passed a bipartisan Bennet amendment to the America Invents Act, currently before the Senate.

“Colorado is a place where creativity and entrepreneurial horsepower are in abundant supply,” said Bennet.  “We’re home to the highest-caliber research institutions and a forward-thinking business community that places a high premium on invention and innovation. Making it more affordable to bring new innovations to market will help unleash a new wave of innovation that creates high-paying jobs and grows our economy.”

A patent is vital to an investor or entrepreneur’s ability to attract investment and bring new innovations to market. Halving the cost for small businesses to obtain an expedited patents through “Track I” of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) new Accelerated Patent Examination Program would help reduce financial barriers that prevent entrepreneurs from bringing new, job-creating ideas to the marketplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 76% of venture capital investors consider patents when making investment decisions, which means that inventors and entrepreneurs who are unable to afford the cost of a patent are less likely to obtain private funding to support their efforts.

Under Bennet’s amendment, which is cosponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and comes at no cost to taxpayers, the most valuable patents produced by small inventors and entrepreneurs will enter the market at a faster rate, which will help them secure investment money more quickly and create high-paying jobs in Colorado and across the country.

On a related note, Bennet, working with Senator Mark Udall, has introduced another amendment to the Patent Reform Act of 2011 that directs the Director of the USPTO to establish 3 or more regional satellite offices across the country in the next 3 years, a move that will address the systemic backlog for patent applications by enhancing the quality and efficiency of our patent system, addressing patent examiner recruitment and retention issues, and connecting the USPTO to regions across the country. 

America Invents Act

The America Invents Act is the product of six years of consideration in Congress and would make the first significant reforms to the nation’s patent system in nearly 60 years.  Enactment of this legislation will bolster economic development, sustain American innovation, and protect American jobs.  Through a number of reforms, this bill will streamline the application process, establish new rules to protect inventors and eliminate unworthy patents, and create consistency for all applicants and patent owners in the application and litigation processes. Highlights include:

  • Transitions the U.S. to a first-inventor-to-file system in order to simplify the application system and bring it in line with international trading partners;
  • Establishes the opportunity for third parties to submit information related to a pending patent application for consideration by a patent examiner;
  • Creates a supplemental examination process to incentivize patent owners to commercialize their invention;
  • Improves administrative obstacles for individuals and small businesses to protect their inventions by providing a meaningful alternative to litigation in the patent challenge system;
  • Provides fee setting authority for the Patent Trade Office to ensure the PTO is properly funded and can reduce the backlog of patent applications;
  • Prohibits patents on tax strategies, which often lead to additional fees on taxpayers who are simply complying with the tax laws

What is a Patent?

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

What is Track 1 of the USPTO’s Accelerated Patent Examination Program?

Track I is a part of the USPTO’s new accelerated program for patent review that was announced earlier this month.  Track I will give applicants the opportunity for prioritized examination of a patent within 12 months of its filing date for a proposed fee of $4,000.  In its budget request, the USPTO estimates that there will be 6,500 filers filing under Track I this year.  According to the USPTO, 1,800 applications for Track I will come from “small entities”.