The House Committee on the Judiciary passed the landmark Patent Reform Act of 2007, marking the first time that patent reform legislation of this scope has managed to emerge from committee.
Passed with bipartisan support, the bill would bring about the first major changes to the US patent system in decades.
During the markup session this morning, a manager’s amendment was introduced that modified some of the bill’s provisions.
One change would give more leeway for an inventor who believed his or her invention was misappropriated to challenge a patent while another makes some of the bill’s provisions on prior art and derivation proceedings dependent on Europe and Japan making some minor changes to their patent laws.
The other bedrock changes to the US patent system envisioned in the original bill remain, including a shift from a “first to invent” system to the “first to file” system used in other countries.
Damage awards for patent infringement would also be capped, while the appeals process would be significantly modified.
Instead of filing a lawsuit or a request for reexamination with the US Patent and Trademark Office, those wishing to challenge patents would be able to take advantage of a new, post-grant patent review process.
Photo by MSDesigns.
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