“Patents would be issued to whoever files applications first and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would be allowed to set its own fees under a measure introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives [H.R. 1249],” Susan Decker and Eric Engleman report for Bloomberg. “The proposal, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, is similar to legislation passed by the Senate in a 95-5 vote on March 8. If approved and made law, it would mark a fundamental change in how patents are reviewed and the biggest revision to U.S. patent law since 1952.”
“The measure seeks to give the patent office more power to control its funding, with an end to Congress diverting fees for other non-patent purposes. It would let small businesses pay lower fees, limit the ability to obtain patents on tax-avoidance methods, and curtail lawsuits that accuse companies of putting expired patents on products,” Decker and Engleman report. “‘The strength of our economy relies on our ability to protect new inventions and build on innovation,’ Smith said in a statement. ‘Unfortunately, our outdated patent system has become a barrier to innovation and invites lawsuits from holders of questionable patents seeking to extort millions of dollars from companies. We cannot protect the technologies of today with the tools of the past.'”
“The Senate bill had support from a coalition of U.S. companies such as 3M Co, drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc, construction equipment-maker Caterpillar Inc., chemical company DuPont Co., General Electric Co. and International Business Machines Corp.,” Decker and Engleman report. “The Coalition for Patent Fairness, whose members include Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG), was critical of the Senate version. In a statement, the group said there are ‘improvements in the legislative language’ in the House version.”
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MacDailyNews Note: The Coalition for Patent Fairness (CPF) issued the following statement following the hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet on patent reform:
Patent reform has been a lengthy and complicated process and we commend the House for debating this topic. America’s top innovators and job creators depend on a fair and equitable patent system, thus consensus must be achieved during this debate.
Today’s testimony correctly highlighted some of our concerns with the bill including the language related to inter partes re-examination and supplemental examination. We will continue to support prior user rights and a robust funding structure for the Patent and Trademark Office, and work with Congress to resolve our concerns.
Getting patent reform right is critical to our economy and the Coalition for Patent Fairness looks forward to improving the bill throughout this process.
The Coalition for Patent Fairness is a diverse group of companies and industry associations dedicated to enhancing U.S. innovation, job creation, and competitiveness in the global market by modernizing and strengthening our nation’s patent system. Coalition for Patent Fairness members include Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel, Intuit, Micron, Oracle, RIM, SAP, Symantec, and Verizon Communications.