Congress Considers U.S. Patent Overhaul
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A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, is poised to agree on a compromise bill that would overhaul the U.S. patent system.

Details of the plan, which is opposed by inventors, have not been revealed publicly. However, Leahy told the Associated Press the plan “will benefit all corners of the patent community.

“We are close to a compromise that will address these issues. No one will think this a perfect bill, but we are close to a comprehensive patent reform bill that benefits all corners of the patent community.”


The Patent Reform Act made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2009. It proposed various changes to patent law, including lowering the amount of damages patent owners can gain in patent infringement litigation.

Opponents of the bill have called the reform ‘misguided.’ A bipartisan group of lawmakers explained their dissent in a letter.

“The recession has illustrated the need for the U.S. to maintain a diverse economy and promote policies that encourage American companies to research, develop and manufacture products in the United States,” the letter said.

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“Key to these pro-growth policies are strong patent protections that ensure the patent application process is efficient and fair for big and small companies alike,” it added.

Critics of the proposal also cite the changes of the method of calculating damages in a patent suit from common law methodology to a statutory methodology. Technology companies such as Microsoft and Google support the change, but critics include pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The U.S. patent system has not been overhauled since 1952.


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