US Congress may act again on patent reform

By Andrew N Stein 

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), enacted in 2011 after three different US congresses considered various iterations of the legislation, was the most sweeping reform of our patent system since 1952.

But since its enactment, calls have arisen in certain quarters for even more reform. The AIA, some commentators say, did not go far enough to combat patent trolls. This is true, they say, even though the AIA authorised the US Patent and Trademark Office to create the new inter partes and ‘covered business method patent’ post-grant review proceedings that the former chief judge of the Federal Circuit has described as essentially having no purpose other than to eliminate patent rights.

Those who want more reform may get it. In December 2013, with overwhelmingly bi-partisan support, the House of Representatives passed HR 3309, the so-called Innovation Act. Compared with other substantive legislation such as the AIA, the Innovation Act raced through the House in less than seven months, having been first introduced by representative (and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee) Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) as a ‘discussion draft’ in May 2013…

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