Congress is once again preparing to try and fix the US patent system. The Patent Reform Act of 2007 was introduced in the Senate and House today.
The new bill is very similar to bills introduced in 2005 and 2006 that failed to pass. It would change the US patent system from its current “first to invent” system to the “first to file” system used in almost every other country. It would also make some changes to how damage awards are calculated in infringement cases.
Another significant change would streamline the process for challenging patents. Currently, anyone wishing to challenge a patent has two options: a lawsuit in a federal district court, or asking the US Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine a patent.
Neither of those two options work very well. Litigation can be prohibitively expensive, and the USPTO’s reexamination process is sluggish and unwieldy at best.
Photo by Premier Patents.
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