...Legislation Bolsters Economy Without Adding To The Deficit
WASHINGTON (Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011) - A bipartisan group of Senators will introduce patent reform legislation when the Senate returns to session next week, Senate Judiciary Committee Members Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced Thursday. The Judiciary Committee has worked to advance patent reform legislation since 2006. Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has included the Patent Reform Act of 2011 on the Committee's first executive business meeting agenda. Hatch is the Committee's senior Republican member and a former Chairman, and Grassley is the panel's incoming Ranking Republican.
The Patent Reform Act of 2011, which will be introduced on Jan. 25, mirrors key improvements to the long-pending legislation that were announced last March as part of an compromise reached by the bill's lead sponsors with then-Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), and others. The legislation will make the first significant changes to the nation's patent system in nearly 60 years, creating jobs without adding to the nation's deficit. The legislation remains based on the original version introduced in the 109th Congress by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).
"Patent reform is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to protect jobs and bolster the economy," said Leahy. "The Patent Reform Act of 2011 is the product of years of careful consideration and compromise. Promoting economic growth continues to be a top priority for both Democrats and Republicans, and patent reform is part of that effort. This has always been a bipartisan, bicameral effort, and I look forward to working with Senator Hatch, Senator Grassley and others and with Chairman Smith in the House to enact meaningful reform this year. This will be the first piece of legislation considered by the Judiciary Committee this year, and I hope the Senate will act promptly on this job-creating bill. Action by Congress can no longer be delayed."
"Reforming our patent system is a critical priority whose time has more than come. It is essential to growing our economy, creating jobs and promoting innovation in our nation," said Hatch. "Working alongside Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, I know we can move this critical legislation forward."
"The United States is the most innovative country in the world," said Grassley. "An efficient patent system is a necessary component to continuing and enhancing this job creating ingenuity and entrepreneurship. I look forward to working with Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch to move this important legislation forward."
The Patent Reform Act makes changes to first-window post-grant review, inter partes review, willfulness, interlocutory appeals, Patent and Trademark Office funding, and supplemental examinations. The legislation will also transition the nation's patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system and will provide certainty in damages calculations. The legislation will also include important provisions to improve patent quality.
The compromise legislation on which the patent Reform Act of 2011 is based was supported by the Obama administration and by industries and stakeholders, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the United Steelworkers, the National Venture Capital Association, the American Association of Universities, and companies representing all sectors of the patent community who have been urging action on patent reform proposals for years.
This will be the fourth consecutive Congress in which comprehensive patent reform legislation has been introduced. The Senate Judiciary Committee has held eight hearings in the last three Congresses examining the need for patent reform. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved patent reform legislation in 2009. That bill was cosponsored by 15 Senators. In September, 25 Senators joined together to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule floor time to consider the legislation.
The text of the Patent Reform Act of 2011 is available online.