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Archived updates for Wednesday, January 23, 2008

IPO: Senate Patent Reform Bill Vote Likely in February

The Intellectual Property Owners Association "believes Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will attempt to pass a revised version of S. 1145 in the Senate in February. Major amendments likely will not be available more than a few days in advance of Senate consideration. It is unclear whether the Senate has the votes to pass a bill. If the Senate does pass a bill, it likely will be sent to the House for swift passage by the House without amendments, eliminating the need for a Senate-House conference." Peter Zura's 217 Patent Blog also notes that that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also announced plans to move quickly on patent reform. His speech on the Senate floor included this statement: "On patent reform, we must carefully strike the right balance with a bill that promotes rather than blocks innovation from enterprising entrepreneurs," quotes

However, "An IPO member suggests patent reform fatigue has set in, with people tiring of debating the complex bills and hoping radical changes will not be made because reforms already have been made by recent Supreme Court decisions." So, this week, I/P Updates will provide an overview of some of the key features of the proposed legislation.

But keep in mind that the bill still faces opposition. According to Kevin E. Noonan writing for Patent Docs, a letter to Senate leaders from a diverse group of over 430 organizations, asserts that the bill "contains provisions that will create uncertainty and weaken the enforceability of validly issued patents." Noonan adds that "Specifically mentioned in this regard are the expanded apportionment of damages provisions, the post-grant opposition, venue restrictions, and the burdensome and expensive mandatory search requirements."
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