Patent bill passes Senate, House hurdles lie ahead

Who says bipartisanship is dead? After years of debate and failed attempts, the Senate passed patent-reform legislation on Tuesday evening by a 95-5 vote, approving a bill that was at the top of President Obama's innovation agenda.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who sponsored the legislation, touted it as a model of how Congress could come together to stimulate the economy.

The bill gathered wide, bipartisan support in the Senate, but the path ahead remains unclear. Several powerful business groups, as well some conservative activists, are opposed to some of the measure's provisions.

The Republican-controlled House, which now takes up the patent issue, has not fully outlined its plans. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who helped author the Senate bill, said he expects the process to go to conference.

If enacted, the legislation would be the first major overhaul of the patent system in more than half a century.

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