Friday, September 07, 2007

White House opposes H.R. 1908

InformationWeek reports the position of the White House on the patent reform bill H.R. 1908:

"Making this change to a reasonably well-functioning patent legal system is unwarranted and risks reducing the rewards from innovation -- a result that would undercut the other useful reforms in this bill," the White House said in a statement. "The Administration therefore opposes H.R. 1908 unless it is appropriately revised to address this concern." The White House also said that recent court rulings make the provision in the bill regarding "willful infringement" unnecessary.

InformationWeek also notes the position of other parties on patent reform:

Meanwhile, consumer and advocacy groups have come out in support of the legislation, which patent examiners themselves oppose.

"Patent examiners are under immense time constraints and do not always discover prior art that might render a patent invalid," consumer groups said, adding that third-party provision would fill current gaps in resources.

"Allowing third parties to aid in the examination process increases the chances that relevant prior art will be discovered and decreases the possibility that invalid patents will issue," the groups said.

The letter, signed by Public Knowledge (PDF) and Public Ecology International, said that current challenges to issued patents result in costly litigation or limited re-examination. HR 1908 (PDF), similar to a bill introduced in the Senate, would allow third parties to challenge issued patents in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office within a year of the patent's grant.

"This provision would provide a comparatively inexpensive and quick means to ensure the validity of issued patents, before litigation becomes necessary," the groups explained, adding that the House bill and Senate bill 1145, extend the review period, if the third party can show risk of substantial harm.

IPBiz had thought that the "second window" of post-grant review (opposition) had been removed from H.R. 1908.

[Information Week link:]


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