Friday, August 31, 2007

Brakes Applied to Congressional Patent Reform

Marge: Homer, the plant called. They said if you don't show up tomorrow, don't bother showing up on Monday.

Homer: Woo-hoo! A four-day weekend!


After an exhausting August, all eyes cautiously looked towards September, where the next installment of "Who Wants to Reform the Patent System?" was being prepared in Congress.

For those that have followed this saga, it was clear that the way in which Congress dealt with wholesale reform wasn't working. Worse yet, there was no coordination between the different branches - In Re Seagate provides one standard for willfulness; Patent Reform Act provides another. The PTO wants Examination Support Documents (ESD) under the 5/25 regime; the 2nd manager's amendment to the Reform Act wants ESD's for all applications.

More and more organizations have come forward to oppose the Patent Reform Act, and it appears their efforts are paying off. Yesterday, Republican leader John Boehner and Whip Roy Blunt sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi, asking for a cool-off period on the Patent Reform Act:

While our patent system is in need of reform, we are very concerned that the bill in its present form picks winners and losers among industries with different business models in a way that has never before been attempted in patent law or practice.

Unquestionably, improving our patent system and the quality of patents is of paramount importance. However, those improvements cannot come at the cost of some domestic industries over others. There is no doubt that the bill's sponsors have worked hard on the legislation, but a bill of this importance and impact should not be rushed to the floor for quick passage. In our current political climate it is rare to find an issue that unites groups from the AFL-ClO to Eagle Forum in opposition to a bill they view as undermining the patent system that created quality jobs and American innovation. With manufacturers, labor unions, universities, biotech companies, high tech innovators, independent inventors, and others all expressing concerns about the patent bill in its present form, it is a strong and clear signal that more work needs to be done to reach consensus on patent reform.

Read/download the letter here (link)

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

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