The House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property circulated a discussion draft a Patent Reform Bill. Since it’s just a draft, it’s not worth over-analyzing at this point but it is interesting to get a glimpse at the topics that may be subject to amendment.

The proposed legislation includes changes to:

  • Creating a post-grant opposition procedures
  • Willfulness damages award not merely on the knowledge of a patent
  • Remove right for an injunction for infringing activity
  • First-to-file rights
  • Expanded definitions of prior art (but see above)
  • Assignee may file for the application
  • Best mode requirement
  • Duty of candor and unenforceability
  • Limits on damages when invention is a portion of a larger product
  • Publication of all patent applications after 18 months
  • Prior user rights

I would like to see a first-to-file change to bring us into alignment with the rest of the world but I won’t hold my breath. There is certainly going to be some arguments over these types of changes. A Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, will hold a hearing on The Patent System Today and Tomorrow,” Thursday, April 21, 2005 at 2:30 p.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senator Hatch will preside.

Dennis Crouch has an excellent on-going discussion of the bill in a series of posts here, here and here. The Draft Patent Statute is posted here (182 KB).

The Baristas will need to mull over the details over a grande and a scone. We’ll keep you posted on substantive changes.

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