Congress is trying to fix and update the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act before the end of the session, but it appears it might be running out of time as lawmakers focus on the country’s budget woes.

A meeting Friday afternoon between congressional leaders and the White House has lawmakers waiting to see whether a deal can be made to avert the fiscal cliff. Still, a Democratic aide who was asked about the AIA legislation said the Senate is “likely to take it up soon.”  

If the bill does not pass before the end of the session, it would have to be reintroduced next year.

The House voted December 17 to approve the bill, which makes minor technical amendments to the law, such as eliminating a nine-month “dead zone” when there would be no way for a third-party to challenge a patent that had been filed under the old patent system.

The bill also calls on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to report to Congress on how many patent applications are still pending even though they were filed before changes to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1995.

Among other things, the bill also modifies requirements and time periods for activities relating to patent term adjustments, and revises the patent extension period for certain international applications.

The legislation also specifies that a civil action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is the exclusive remedy for challenging a PTO decision on a request for reconsideration of a patent term adjustment determination.

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