Thursday, April 19, 2007

More on the proposed Patent Reform Act of 2007

Slashdot writes: FutureDomain sends us to a PC World report on the filing yesterday of legislation to overhaul the US patent system completely. The US has the only system worldwide that tries to ascertain who first invented a thing — everywhere else the criterion is who filed first, and the new legislation would bring the US into line. Identical bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate by, in each case, bipartisan sponsors. The corporate roster of backers includes Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, and nearly everyone else.

IBM, a member of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, speaking through the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform:

"We are encouraged that the bills that Chairman Leahy and Chairman
Berman have introduced will allow the legislative process on needed reforms
to advance. However, we are concerned the bills as introduced do not
adequately address several critical reforms
. We look forward to working
with the Chairmen, members of the Judiciary Committees and representatives
of a broad cross sector of industry to fashion a patent reform initiative
that will enhance innovation and American competitiveness in a global

See also Aspects of the proposed Patent Reform Act of 2007 AND see the Leahy press release
Leahy-Hatch / Berman-Smith The Patent Reform Act Of 2007 Section-By-Section, which includes

Sec. 6. Post-Grant Procedures.

In general.— After a patent issues, a party seeking to challenge the validity and enforceability of the patent has two avenues under current law: by reexamination proceeding at the USPTO or by litigation in federal district court. The former is used sparingly and is considered not very effective; the latter, district court litigation, is unwieldy and expensive. This section therefore creates a new, post-grant review that provides an effective and efficient system for considering challenges to the validity of patents. Addressing concerns that a post-grant review procedure could be abused by cancellation petitioners, this section requires the Director to prescribe rules for abuse of discovery or improper use of the proceeding. In addition, it bars successive petitions in either the first or second window, and prohibits a party from reasserting claims in court that it raised in post-grant review.

Reexamination procedures.— Amends the reexamination procedures of § 303(a) to provide that, within three months of a request for reexamination of a patent by the patent owner, or at any time on the Director’s own initiative, the Director may determine whether a substantial new question of patentability is raised by patents discovered by him or cited by any other person.

Post-grant review procedures.—

§ 321.– Permits a person who is not the patent owner to file a “petition for cancellation” before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board based on any ground that might be raised under section 282(a)(2) and (3). The Director shall establish fees to be paid by the person requesting the proceeding.

§ 322.– The petition for cancellation can only be filed (1) within 12 months of the patent’s issue or reissue (known as the “first window”), or (2) if there is substantial reason to believe that the continued existence of the challenged claim is likely to cause the petitioner significant economic harm, the petitioner has received notice from the patent holder alleging infringement by the petition, or the patent owner consents to the proceeding in writing (known as the “second window”).


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