Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after Senate passage of the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), a comprehensive bill to unleash innovation and job creation by streamlining operations at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and reducing costly and abusive patent litigation:
"The average wait time for patent approval is over three years, and there is currently a backlog of over 1.2 million patent applications sitting at the PTO. This bill, which I implore the President to sign immediately, will unleash innovation by streamlining the patent process. It includes a provision I authored that provides small businesses and independent inventors personal advocates at the PTO to help them navigate what can be a complicated process. The faster new innovations can be patented, the faster more jobs can be created by the private sector."
In 2010, the PTO created a temporary program to make it easier for small business inventors to obtain a patent by offering consultations to individuals who were confused and frustrated by the application process. PTO Director David Kappos has described the program as a new and innovative way for the PTO to improve customer service with patent applicants and their representatives. Griffin's provision makes this program permanent using existing funds.