When the Patent Reform Act of 2007 was unveiled, the conventional wisdom was that the law would be enacted and remain largely intact, unlike the 2006 version which was never sent to the White House. But it has hit its first delay, shortly after its first public hearings last week. Earlier this week, five Senate Judiciary Committee (which is considering the Act) members — Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Jeff Sessions of (R-Alabama), Chuck Grassley of (R-Iowa), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) — sent a letter to the Committee’s Chair Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and its Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania). The Senators sought a delay in voting on on the Act and reporting it out of the Committee to allow time for additional hearings to explore, among other issues:
- Apportionment of damages;
- Post-grant opposition procedures;
- Granting the USPTO broad rulemaking authority;
- How to improve patent quality; and
- "[E]xamining the problem of speculative litigation and alternatives to stopping unnecessary and costly litigation."
Blogs have been actively covering the letter and its implications: