INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's historic signing of the America Invents Act represents a huge win for innovators and improves U.S. competiveness globally by aligning new patent laws more closely with those from other countries, said John Lechleiter, Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY).
Lechleiter joined other key leaders at President Obama's signing ceremony today in Alexandria, Va. The law, which had the support of a bipartisan Congressional majority led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), will speed the commercialization of innovative discoveries and provide greater certainty for those who invest in bringing new products to market.
"This new law is the most significant overhaul of the U.S. patent system in 175 years. Lilly has championed efforts to modernize the patent system for many years, and we're extremely pleased that the America Invents Act is now a reality," Lechleiter said. "A strong patent system is crucial to driving America's economic competitiveness and global leadership in fields like biopharmaceutical research, which employs more than 650,000 people and supports more than 3 million U.S. jobs."
The new law will provide a simpler path forward for innovators by reducing red tape and enhancing the quality of patents that are granted. The Act will also provide resources needed to help eliminate the backlog of 700,000 applications awaiting action in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
"Modernizing U.S. patent laws will provide huge new advantages for U.S. inventors by streamlining the application process and addressing the huge backlog of current applications," said Robert Armitage, Lilly's senior vice president and general counsel. Armitage called the new law the "most important change to our patent system since the Patent Act of 1836."
Transitioning the U.S. from a "first-to-invent" to a "first-inventor-to-file" system, the new law creates a set of transparent, objective, predictable and simple standards for gaining a patent – securing the U.S. as a leader in international efforts aimed at achieving greater consistency in global patent laws.
A broad coalition of universities, medical colleges, inventor organizations, organized labor, industry trade groups and coalitions, bar associations, and individual businesses supported the new law, with a strong bipartisan consensus that the America Invents Act represents a unique "job-creation bill" that required no taxpayer funding and would not add to the federal deficit.
"Lilly supports any efforts to promote innovation at home and American competitiveness abroad," Lechleiter said, "and with the passage of this bill and a clearer, more certain process, we can be sure that American inventors will keep inventing right here."
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers – through medicines and information – for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com. C-LLY