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Patent Reform Act of 2011 Presented to 112th Congress

Posted by: Joseph R. Carnicella, an intellectual property associate with Picadio Sneath Miller & Norton, P.C.

UPDATE TO POST BELOW:  Please see the following from our friends at DRI ( and ):
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVES PATENT REFORM BILL S. 23 WITH AMENDMENTS –  This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Patent Reform Bill S. 23 with amendments. Most notably, the committee deleted proposed amendments clarifying the standard for awarding enhanced damages for willful infringement (ALB11066) , changed the effective date of the amendments from one year after enactment to 18 months, and added provisions related to the removal of patent actions and requiring the mandatory remand of claims not falling within the original or supplemental jurisdiction of the federal courts (GRA11079). In addition, the amendments added a provision requiring the Federal Circuit to transfer appeals that do not involve a patent or plant variety protection claim to the appropriate circuit court. (GRA11079).

ORIGINAL POST:  On January 25, 2011, President Obama stressed during his State of the Union Speech that Americans must focus on innovation, research and new technologies in order to be able to compete in this new technologically-advanced world.  Also on this same day, patent reform legislation (S. 23) was reintroduced to the 112th Congress.  The key provisions of the new legislation include the following: (a) changing from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system, which would create a U.S. patent system that is more similar to other countries; (b) creating a post-grant review procedure, which would allow challenges on the validity of issued claims based on patentability to be raised within nine months of the grant of an issued patent; (c) creating a new system for determining damage awards; and (d) limiting standing for false marking claims to the United States and those who have suffered a competitive injury as a result of the alleged violation.  

Advocates believe that the new legislation would serve to reduce the amount of frivolous patent lawsuits, streamline the application process, improve the overall quality of patents and create jobs.  On the other hand, opponents believe that the new legislation could ultimately decrease the level of innovation and result in a loss in value for companies that currently own patents. 

If you would like to read the complete text of the proposed bill, click here.  Patent Reform Act 2011.  We will continue to monitor and update the progress of this new legislation.

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