"Patent reform legislation passed by the US Congress may represent the most sweeping changes to the law in decades but the bill is not expected to end the courtroom wrangling between technology giants.
"My feeling is that it won't change the dynamics much of the ongoing patent wars," said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates. "The problem is with patents in general, in that there's way too much patenting and people patent any old thing including how to toast bread."
Ed Black, president and chief executive of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), said the bill, the America Invents Act, "doesn't effectively address the real serious problems of our patent system.
"The bill tinkers in various ways -- some things are good, some things are bad -- but it's not a gamechanger," Black said, agreeing with Kay that the main problem is "too many patents issued that are simply not high-quality patents."
Black noted that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced recently that it has issued its eight millionth patent.
"Most people think of patents as being like Edison and the light bulb," he said. "Tell me we've had eight million game-changing ideas."
The Senate passed the America Invents Act on Thursday by an 89-9 vote. It cleared the House of Representatives earlier this year by a similarly lopsided 304-117 margin.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, a key author of the legislation, said the bill will "ensure that inventors large and small maintain the competitive edge that has put America at the pinnacle of global innovation."
The legislation notably shifts the granting of US patents from a "first to invent" system, which left considerable leeway for interpretation, to a "first to file" basis and seeks to reduce a backlog of 750,000 applications..."