Obama signed into law the America Invents Act to streamline the U.S. patent process. The idea was that inventors and entrepreneurs could turn their ideas into products more quickly and create inexpensive ways to resolve disputes.
Despite the law, major technology companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are locked in battles over the scope of their patents, particularly for smartphones and tablet computers. Tech companies and entrepreneurs say further patent reform is needed.
The president so far has resisted pressure to lower or temporarily waive corporate income taxes on the more than $1 trillion U.S. companies have piled up in overseas accounts from sales there. Many are tech companies that are keeping most of their cash offshore.
Some of the biggest hoards of foreign cash are held by Apple ($82.6 billion), Microsoft Corp. ($58 billion), Cisco ($42.5 billion) and Google ($29.1 billion). All favor a tax holiday so they could return the money to the United States without paying a huge bill to the government.
Obama hasn't ruled out a tax holiday. But he's indicated he'd consider it only as part of a broad tax overhaul.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Linda A. Johnson in Trenton, N.J., Tom Murphy in Indianapolis, Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit, Jon Fahey and Peter Svensson in New York, Michael Liedtke in San Francisco and Daniel Wagner, Martin Crutsinger, Stephen Ohlemacher, Matthew Perrone and Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington.
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