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Public Statements

Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, the Senate ratified both The Hague Agreement on Industrial Designs and the Patent Law Treaty in December of 2007. Each treaty is noncontroversial and helps American inventors who need overseas patent protection.

However, the treaties cannot take effect until we amend our national patent law to cohere with our new obligations. Now that patent reform is behind us, we turn to implement both treaties through S. 3486. And I thank Ranking Member Conyers, Senator Leahy, Senator Grassley, and PTO Director Kappos for their work on this bill.

The Hague Agreement makes the process of registering industrial designs in other countries much easier for American applicants. Its signature provision allows a design owner to apply for protection in a number of African, Asian, and European nations through a single filing.

Currently, an American design applicant must file separate applications for design protection in each country or intergovernmental organization. The centralized registration procedure under the agreement will bring substantial cost savings to American industrial design owners.

In addition, the filing of a single application that is accepted by a centralized office will lead to fewer processing mistakes and delays by the applicant and foreign patent offices.

The Hague Agreement also specifies administrative procedures to be followed by design patent applicants seeking multinational registration under the act. This allows us to provide the United States with the administrative benefits of a multinational design protection system and still retain our own substantive system.

The Patent Law Treaty, or PLT, also simplifies the formal obligations imposed on inventors and reduces cost for patent applicants and owners. The PLT furthers our policy of strong and intellectual property protection. It simplifies national and international formal requirements associated with patent applications and patents. This makes it easier for American patent applicants and owners to obtain and maintain patents throughout the world, as well as in the United States.

The drafting of S. 3486 was a collaborative effort that included the bipartisan and bicameral participation of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the Patent and Trademark Office, and the House legislative counsel. I again want to thank Ranking Member Conyers, Senator Leahy, Senator Grassley, and PTO Director Kappos for their contributions to the project.

S. 3486 saves American inventors money and expands their patent protection outside the United States. I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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