Saturday, March 20, 2010

F&R on patent reform 2010; S.515

Fish & Richardson has been maintaining a "patent reform" update. As of March 20, the last entry is that of March 4, which states:

A press release from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Leahy confirmed agreement on a draft Manager's Amendment, which is to be substituted for the version of S.515 approved by the Committee last year. The draft is the result of work by Democratic Senators Leahy, Kaufman and Schumer, and Republican Senators Hatch, Kyl and Sessions. The press release, including background sections summarizing changes from the previous version of the bill and present law, is here. The draft Amendment is here.

Although interest groups will continue to lobby for their views, the bipartisan support for this draft suggests it may move ahead soon to a vote by the full Senate without significant, further changes.

What isn't mentioned is that the Coalition for Patent Fairness opposed the as-amended version of S.515, AND problems lurk in the House:

Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, has pushed big tech's version of patent reform on the House Judiciary committee for her constituents and donors. And it appears that she's got the chairman of House Judicary, John Conyers, D-Mich., and the ranking Republican, Lamar Smith, R-Texas, on board. The three released a statement about the Senate bill saying: "We believe a number of changes are essential before it could be considered by the House."

What's really going to happen with S.515's version of patent reform

Moreover, S.515 does not do anything about fee diversion. Thus, although there is USPTO fee-setting authority in S.515, the ability to "set" fees is meaningless unless there is a provision allowing the USPTO to "keep" the fees it sets, rather than having the money from the fees diverted elsewhere.


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