The House on Sept. 7 endorsed the most significant changes in patent law in more than 50 years, sending to the Senate legislation that has divided the nation’s business and innovation communities.

The House bill, approved 220-175, would harmonize the U.S. patent system with those of other countries, making it easier for American inventors to secure patents overseas, weed out poor-quality patents and limit damages that can be levied in patent lawsuits.