The Administration supports Senate passage of S. 23. As a whole, this bill represents a fair, balanced, and necessary effort to improve patent quality, enable greater work sharing between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and other countries, improve service to patent applicants and the public at the USPTO, and offer productive alternatives to costly and complex litigation.
By moving the United States to a first-to-file system, the bill simplifies the process of acquiring rights. This essential provision will reduce legal costs, improve fairness, and support U.S. innovators seeking to market their products and services in a global marketplace. Further, by providing authority for the USPTO to establish and adjust its fees to reflect changes in costs, demand, and workload, the bill would enhance productivity – reducing delay in the patent application process – and ensure full cost recovery at no taxpayer expense. Senate passage of this bill is consistent with the Administration’s commitment to support and encourage innovation that leads to improved competiveness, economic prosperity, and job growth – without adding a penny to the deficit.
Finally, the Administration understands that several stakeholders have suggested that the provisions on damages and venue are no longer needed in the legislation in light of recent court decisions in these areas. The Administration would not object to removal of these provisions from the final version of the legislation.
The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to craft patent reform legislation that reflects sound policy and meets the needs of the Nation’s innovators.
The Patent Reform Act of 2011 recently passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a bipartisan vote of 15-0. BayBio and BIO are supportive of this compromise bill and we are currently working to ensure widespread support as this legislation moves to the Senate floor early next week.
The full Senate is scheduled to consider patent reform legislation next week as Senate Bill S. 23. AIPLA supports this bill, and hopes that we can count on your individual support too. Moreover, additional provisions will be proposed to ensure the USPTO is given access to all the fees its collects, which we would urge you to support as well. Finally, one of the cornerstones of the legislation is a long-overdue change to a first-inventor-to-file system. However, a few Senators may be seeking to strike that important provision of the bill.
NVCA would not be able to support a final bill that does not include a clear statement of Congressional support for the current case law standard on damages and weakens the post- grant review safeguards against abuse contained in the compromise that was included in S. 515 during the last Congress.
These proposed changes will have a significant impact on the certainty of our patent system. We need to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input in crafting legislation that will achieve an appropriate balance, promote U.S. job growth, and advance U.S. innovation.
While appreciative of efforts to enhance the legislation from earlier iterations, S. 23 does not contain substantive improvements to the key elements of the legislation that NSBA and other small-business and startup organizations previously have opposed—namely, its provisions pertaining to post-grant patent challenges and its radical weakening of the American grace period—in the form of the conversion of the U.S. patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system. NSBA contends that the bill’s provisions on postgrant patent challenges, and its effective elimination of the American grace period, would put small-business patentees at greater risk than the current system and would result in a U.S. patent system strongly titled in favor of large incumbent firms at the expense of America’s small-business innovators.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association sent a letter to senators explaining its opposition to S. 23, the senate's latest patent reform legislation. While CCIA was an original advocate for patent reform and supports the House verison of the bill, S. 23 would be even worse for the tech industry and the real innovative sector of the economy than the current system.
CCIA asked the senate to hold hearings on S. 23 ahead of a vote so that senators can get more information on the complexities of the law as written and what it would really do to the patent back log and how it would increase patent litigation rather than innovation.