By Donald Zuhn --
After considering three amendments, rejecting two and tabling a third, the Senate today voted 89 to 9 in favor of H.R. 1249, the House version of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Opposing passage of the bill were Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Rand Paul (R-KY); Senators John Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) did not vote; a list of Senators voting for passage can be found here. While proponents of the bill secured a wide margin in favor of passage of the legislation, the margin was not as overhwelming as the Senate's 95-5 vote in favor of S. 23 in March (see "Senate Passes S. 23").
Before voting on H.R. 1249, the Senate considered three amendments to the legislation. The first amendment to be considered, SA 600 (Congressional Record (September 7, 2011) p. S5392), was submitted by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). This amendment, which would have struck Section 37 concerning the calculation of the 60-day period for application of patent term extension (the so-called MedCo amendment), was rejected by a narrow 51-47 vote. The second amendment to be considered, SA 595 (Congressional Record (September 7, 2011) p. S5390), was submitted by Sen. Cantwell. This amendment, which offered a replacement for Section 18 providing a transitional program for covered business-method patents, was rejected by a 85-13 vote (with one Senator voting present). The third and final amendment to be considered, SA 599 (Congressional Record (September 7, 2011) p. S5391), was submitted by Sen. Coburn. This amendment, which would have replaced Section 22 of the House bill concerning USPTO funding with the USPTO funding provisions of S. 23, was tabled by a close 50-48 vote. Under Senate rules, the agreement to table the third amendment was equivalent to defeating the amendment tabled.
H.R. 1249 will now be sent to the President for his signature (based on the President's schedule, any signing is unlikely to occur tomorrow).