As promised, the new Patent Reform Acts were introduced in Congress this week — click here for the Senate bill and here for the House bill. While I have not yet done a comprehensive review, I understand that the bills are largely similar. Here are some highlights of the bills:
- They move from the current first to invent system to the international norm, first to file.
- Expanded reexamination and a new period of post-grant review.
- Damages provisions require that the specific contribution over the prior art be considered and allow consideration of licensing terms for similar noninfringing substitutes. As Dennis Crouch points out, for alternatives in the public domain the comparable license could be free.
- Specifically allows for Federal Circuit jurisdiction of interlocutory claim construction appeals where the district court approves the appeal.
- Federal Circuit judges would no longer be required to live within fifty miles of the District of Columbia.
- The venue provisions are changed to narrow possible venues.
There is plenty of commentary in the blogosphere. Here are some of the best:
- 271 Patent Blog (giving highlights, noting changes from the last version and do not miss Peter Zura’s blog makeover);
- Patent Docs (discussing the Senate press conference announcing the Senate bill and noting BIO’s response to the bills); and
- Patently-O (giving highlights and noting changes from the most recent attempted reforms) and here (reposting comments from Google’s Head of Patents and Patent Strategy, Michelle Lee).