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Senate Consideration on Patent Transparency and Improvements Act Stalls Out

May 22, 2014
Post by Blog Staff

With the House of Representatives passing H.R.3009 Innovation Act in December 2013, the question is now whether the Senate will pass their version of an Innovation Act in the coming months. The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S.1720) is similar to the House text, with eight of the eleven major Senate provisions included in the bill approved by the House. The primary distinction is that while the House appears to focus on rules of procedure, specifically those regarding joinder and discovery, the Senate does not include those provisions but rather promotes a heightened layer of transparency for parent entities who are transferred patent rights. Three provisions discuss parent entities in detail, leading to the ultimate conclusion that nondisclosure of a transfer of rights to a parent entity after the three-month grace period is considered misconduct that will enable fee shifting and the possibility for recovering increased damages. It appears that this Senate bill represents a compromise between the House patent reform bill and the current law.

S.1720 was repeatedly slated for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held a primary hearing on December 17, 2013. Testimony was heard from two panels of witness testimony, including intellectual property counsel for private corporations as well as the Executive Director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. In addition, a number of organizations—including the American Bar Association—have addressed letters to the Judiciary Committee voice their support and concerns for the bill.

S.1720 has been removed from the Judiciary Committee agenda as of May 21, 2014. Senator Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has cited insufficient support behind any comprehensive deal as the reason for taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda. The press release from Senator Leahy is availablehere.

In light of this stall in the Senate, it is extremely unlikely that any patent reform legislation will be enacted this year.


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The attorneys of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. designed this blog as an informational and educational resource about intellectual property law for our clients, other attorneys, and the public as a whole. Our goal is to provide cutting-edge information about recent developments in intellectual property law, including relevant case law updates, proposed legislation, and intellectual property law in the news.

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