US President Barack Obama has signed a sweeping patent law reform bill that could affect a large number of new technologies including cold fusion. Obama signed the bill on Friday September 16, at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington.

The President signs the America Invents Act

The law called the America Invents Act is designed to help the US Patent Office which is reportedly facing a backlog of 1.2 million pending patents. These would presumably include a number of Cold Fusion device patent applications including Andrea Rossi’s patent application for his e-cat cold fusion device. It now takes about three years to get a patent approved.

“Somewhere in that stack of applications could be the next technological breakthrough, the next miracle drug,” Obama told reporters in a comment that seemed to point to Rossi. “We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into jobs.”

It is unclear exactly how this legal change would affect Rossi’s e-cat and other cold fusion devices. Rossi has asked his lawyers to look into this measure. Since Obama has signed it is now law but in the American system, a law can be overturned or substantially altered by the courts. Legal challenges could derail the America Invents Act. They could also tie implementation of this new law up in the courts for years. It is not known if any legal challenges will be made to America Invents.

The America Invents Act fundamentally changes the US patent system from a “first to invent” to a first to patent system. That would probably benefit Rossi who already has an Italian patent for his e-cat.