Monday, August 01, 2005

PATENT REFORM BILL STALLED: According to the Newswires, the Patent Reform Act (HR 2795), which was expected to easily glide through Congress, has stalled in committee. Now, there's even a buzz that some are trying to kill the bill.

Authored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, the bill was heralded as a silver bullet, designed to enhance the nation's patent system. Opponents of the controversial bill argued the bill would dull America's intellectual edge, disadvantage the nation's small businesses, cost Americans jobs and stifle individual ingenuity.

According to the Professional Inventors Alliance, businesses, small and large are fighting tooth and nail to either gut or kill the bill. Many industries directly or indirectly affected by patents, such as high-tech, pharmaceuticals, bio-tech and independent inventors would rather see the legislation die on the vine or heavily gutted.

In an effort to keep the controversial bill moving as scheduled in Congress, Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) held an odd and impromptu one-man Judiciary Committee Hearing on July 26. Following the weak showing of interest for the bill in the Senate [how surprising . . .], rumors circulated on Capitol Hill that Rep. Smith planned to hold a quick mark-up of the bill on Friday July 29, just hours before Congress' annual August Recess vacation, but he failed to muster support [again, a shocking surprise . . .].

"In an attempt to save the highly controversial and heavily crippled bill, instead of a mark up, the House subcommittee is back-tracking. It is reported to be planning a hearing around the first part of September," said Ron Riley, president of the Professional Inventors Alliance. "Committee's often abruptly cancel congressional mark ups, such as in this case and instead schedule hearings in an attempt to regain support for a bill."

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