Impending Patent Reform Raises Concerns

According to an online article, Inside Counsel, there are growing concerns surrounding the patent reform that will be enacted this year.

A review of a bill, called the Innovation Act, was expected on June 11th. The Senate Judiciary Committee has previously reported a separate bill. The full Senate will consider it in due course.

An important component of the two bills is the attempt to reduce the potential for frivolous lawsuits brought by non-practicing parties that are typically referred to as patent trolls. The Judiciary Committee has made considerable progress in forging legislative provisions for deterring adverse behaviors, even as it attempts to safeguard patent owners’ good-faith enforcement activities.

Nevertheless, both bills raise a number of concerns, and could impact Palm Spring commercial litigation.

The Judiciary Committee approved the Senate bill with a 16 – 4 vote. It includes provisions relating to:

- Fee Shifting
– Disclosures
– Heightened pleadings
– Reduction of litigation costs
– The prevention of abusive demand letters
– Stays of suits with relating to customers

In addition, the Senate bill seeks to change how post-grant review procedures are conducted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office/USPTO.

One of the main concerns, according to the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s patent counsel, Matthew Levy, relates to the provisions that modify inter parties reviews at USPTO. Previously, IPRs have been an effective and economical tool to weed out bad patents and to stop patent troll, but the proposed reform to IPR in the bill would greatly limit the program’s effectiveness.