The America Invents Act, signed into law in September by President Obama, is not the patent reform that we need. Moving to a European-style patent system will yield European-style results: fewer successful startups. Rudimentary research shows that some of the biggest proponents of the act previously represented some of the largest tech companies in America. It is no surprise, then, that this act will improve the position of large companies that have plenty of funds to throw at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Moving from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system in conjunction with the elimination of the one-year grace period after conception, expedited review process (for a hefty fee), and an additional four methods of post-grant review gives the larger companies an edge over startups. The amount of money necessary to apply for, defend, and maintain a patented intellectual property may now be beyond the means of the everyday inventor. With all of the buzz about the rich getting richer, the America Invents Act needs a little more attention, else the disparity between big and small, rich and poor will do nothing but increase in magnitude.