Issue Date: October 26, 2009
Administration Backs Patent Reform
Obama Administration officials are urging Congress to pass a patent reform bill aimed at reducing infringement litigation. The Patent Reform Act of 2009 (S. 515) is a “major positive step” for the life sciences sector, small innovators, and the information technology industry, Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Director David Kappos told the American Intellectual Property Law Association at an Oct. 15 meeting. In a letter to lawmakers earlier this month, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose department oversees PTO, wrote that “enactment of patent reform legislation is another important step in placing PTO on a sound financial footing and ensuring that the intellectual property system is in a strong position to further our economic recovery.” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, hopes to bring S. 515 to the Senate floor for a vote before the end of the year. But in a recent letter to Senate leaders, a dozen Republicans warned that the legislation “threatens to diminish the value and enforceability of U.S. patent rights.” Independent inventors and universities charge that the bill would make it more difficult to defend their inventions against major technology companies with deep pockets.
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