The America Invents Act of 2011 focused heavily on transitioning the Patent Office to a “first-to-file system” – bringing the U.S. system in line with the patent regimes of much of the rest of the world. The shift confers patent rights on the first inventor or company to file an application, rather than the current first-to-invent system.
Status (as of 10/16/12):
On March 8, 2011, the U.S. Senate passed the America Invents Act patent reform bill by a 95-5 margin. On June 23, 2011, the U.S. House version of the America Invents Act (H.R.1249) passed the House by a vote of 304-117.
Then in September 2011, the U.S. Senate successfully passed the House version of the America Invents Act of 2011 (H.R. 1249) and the legislation was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Sept. 16, 2011 as the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.