America Invents, More or Less?

Jason Rantanen, University of Iowa - College of Law
Lee Petherbridge, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
Jay P. Kesan, University of Illinois College of Law


In September 2011, President Obama signed the most significant patent law overhaul in decades, the America Invents Act. The central change of the Act is to shift patent rights from the first to invent to the first to file, but the act also provides immunity for claims that an inventor deceived the Patent Office if the invention is not patentable. Professor Petherbridge and Professor Rantanen take on these changes, arguing that despite the stated goal of the Act, to stimulate innovation and job creation in the American economy, the Act may well do just the opposite. In response, Professor Kesan examines other sections of the Act, arguing that they provide more reason to be optimistic, and questioning whether the reasons Professors Petherbridge and Rantanen are pessimistic truly can be evaluated without better empirical evidence.