The U.S. Senate passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act on Thursday, the first significant change in patent law since 1952. The legislation is designed to spur innovation and provide a boost to the job market. The law would change the nation's U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system and would help provide adequate funding to the overwhelmed patent office by allowing it to set and keep its own fees. The final bill is controversial because it does not prohibit fee diversion -- the practice of using excess U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revenue for other government programs.
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