On April 18, 2007, bipartisan legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives introduced sweeping patent reform measures in legislation termed the Patent Reform Act of 2007. The reform measures include the following provisions:
- First-to-file rights and elimination of interference proceedings;
- Reform to make it easier to file a patent application without the inventor's cooperation;
- Limitation of damages to only the economic value of the improvement as compared to the prior-art;
- Specific limitations on when damages may be trebled for willfulness;
- Post-grant opposition proceedings with a reduction in the litigation estoppel effect;
- Limitations on patent venue;
- Authority to the PTO director to create further regulations.
Although couched in terms of the importance of patents and patent quality. The thrust of many of the measures are clearly directed at "limiting litigation abuses." Although a detailed analysis has not been completed, the two versions appear virtually identical.
- The Senate version was introduced by Senators Leahy, Hatch, Schumar, and Cornyn
- The House version was introduced by Representatives Berman, Smith, Conyers, Coble, Boucher, Godlatte, Zoe Lofgren, Issa, Schiff, Cannon, and Jackson-Lee
- www.innovationalliance.net (Tech Companies who want strong patents)
- www.ipo.org (Industry group -- Formerly supported strong IP rights -- now a consensus builder)
- www.phrma.org (Big Pharma: Strong patent rights)
- www.patentfairness.org ("Over-broad patent grants stifle future innovators, while unjustified lawsuits that aim to extort settlements")
- www.aipla.org (Group of lawyers who are, for the most part, unwilling to take a stand)
- www.bsa.org (Microsoft, Apple, HP -- all supporting dramatic patent reform that curbs litigation in favor of the more genteel cross-licensing).
Who is writing about patent reform:
- Nothing Cash Can't Cure (IP Law & Business by John Bringardner)($$$)
- BIO Expresses Concerns Regarding New Patent Reform Legislation (PR)
- Coalition for Patent Fairness Supports Introduction of Bipartisan, Bicameral Patent Reform Bills (PR)
- Apple among supporters of new patent reform bill (PR)
- BSA Applauds new Reforms (PR)
- Patent Reform May have a Chance (AP Report)
Patently-O plans to publish a couple of well written editorials on patent reform within the next two weeks. Feel free to submit yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.