Policy: Law

Senate panel to meet again to discuss patent reform measure

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WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Senate version of a patent reform bill will continue to be discussed at a committee meeting this week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will “mark up” the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, or Senate Bill 1720, at an executive business meeting scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Leahy

Leahy

Members of the panel met Thursday to discuss the bill, introduced in November by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and chairman of the judiciary committee.

Leahy said Thursday he is working with members from both parties to incorporate their ideas into a “manager’s package.”

“I hope we are in the final stages of hammering out a manager’s amendment that is the result of true compromise between all sides,” he said after the meeting.

“Stakeholders come to us with concerns from their particular experience. As lawmakers, it is our responsibility to listen to those concerns and pass laws that work for the entire community.”

Leahy’s bill would increase transparency in patent ownership.

In particular, the person or organization that holds the patent and files an action in federal court would have to disclose any and all persons that have a financial interest in the proceedings, or that could be affected by the outcome.

And similar to other measures, Leahy’s bill targets the widespread sending of frivolous “demand letters.”

More specifically, the Senate bill would empower the Federal Trade Commission to consider such letters an “unfair and deceptive act or practice.”

S. 1720 also allows cases against customers who are sued for patent infringement to be stayed while the manufacturer litigates the lawsuit.

Leahy’s bill also would provide additional resources for small business that are targeted in patent infringement lawsuits, and it calls for various studies to be done by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, among others.

An outline of the bill can be found here, and text of the legislation can be found online.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

Original Story: Senate panel to meet again to discuss patent reform measure

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