U.S. President Barack Obama has signed the America Invents Act, the first major overhaul of the U.S. patent system in about 50 years.The America Invents Act, passed 89-9 by the U.S. Senate last week, would allow new challenges to patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It allows third parties to file a challenge to a patent within nine months of it being awarded.
The law changes the patent process by giving the patent to the first person to file, not the first person to create. This puts the U.S. on a level playing field with most of the rest of the world. Opponents of the legislation fear that will put small businesses and sole inventors at a disadvantage with larger companies with deeper pockets.