It is getting harder and harder for me to not pay attention to patent reform: Yesterday, the House approved its version of Patent Reform (H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act).

The next step is to reconcile the differences with the Senate version approved in March (S. 23). Perhaps the most significant difference relates to USPTO funding. The House version passed with a “compromise” on the anti-fee diversion provision which many USPTO supporters will find unacceptable. Although the House bill provides for USPTO user fees to be deposited into a separate fund, the USPTO’s spending authority still would be limited by Congressional appropriations. The House version also includes various provisions with no corresponding terms in the Senate version, which may or may not fall out of any final legislation.

While Patent Reform has at least one more hurdle to clear, it is getting closer and closer to the finish line.