The Patent Reform Debate Continues

an american flag outside of congress where they are debating the patent reform

Calls for patent law reform have continued to grow, while separate bills continue to make their way, concurrently, through the House and Senate. Although there are many similarities between both bills, there are some key similarities and differences, which will be examined here.

The House Innovation Act and the Senate’s PATENT Act both agree that legislation should deal with abusive litigation via increased transparency, more limited discovery, heightened pleading standards and fee shifting to the party who loses.

The main difference between both bills is how to handle attorneys’ fees and fee shifting. Some opponents feel that the fee-shifting provisions would encourage smaller firms or individual patent holders to settle rather than litigate, lose and be forced to pay for the victor’s fees.

The bills also differentiate with respect to the limits on discovery. On the one hand, the House bill would limit discovery to information needed for a court determination on the meaning of the terms used in the case, while the Senate bill would stay discovery until motions to dismiss, sever or transfer venue were resolved.

In June, the House bill made it out of the Judiciary Committee only to be pulled from the House floor by leadership, saying that the bill not only would rein in “patent trolls,” but make it more difficult for honest actors to defend their rights in court. Similarly, critics of the PATENT Act argue that their version of the bill fails to adequately differentiate between good and bad actors, although the amended version of this bill also passed.

Even though much of the debate on patent reform has been met positively, the removal of the House bill from the floor and the difference of opinions on the matter, makes it difficult to predict if the new legislation will pass during this session of Congress. Be sure to check our blog regularly for any updates on the matter.

Since 1977, Sanchelima Law has dedicated its practice exclusively to securing and preserving the intellectual property rights of its clients, including securing patents, trademarks and copyrights for our clients, and defending our clients from all manner of related litigation. Our firm is a results-oriented organization blending our resources with those of our clients to pursue their objectives. Contact us for a consultation with one of our knowledgeable Miami patent attorneys today.

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