obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

The blog for inventors, in-house counsel, & entrepreneurs.

Patent Reform- It Should Not Be Treated as Bacon

by Orlando Lopez

A flurry of activity was generated by the patent reform watch community last week, as Sen. Leahy attempted to sneak the Patent Reform Bill as an amendment into the Small Business Loan Funding Bill.  This is a common maneuver in Congress, typically used to insert small pet projects or “pork,” and the maneuver would have reduced or avoided the discussion of the Patent Reform Bill.  Given that small businesses have had little or no input to the Patent Reform Bill, the move was like trying to sneak wolves  into henhouses.  Fortunately, since there were too many amendments being tacked onto the Small Business Loan Funding Bill, the effort to “tack on” the Patent Reform Bill failed.This is not the first attempt at patent reform, there were also Patent Reform bills in the previous Congress.  The current Senate Patent Reform bill and companion House bill were each introduced in 2009.  The Senate bill is sponsored by Senators Hatch and Leahy; the House bill was introduced by Representative John Conyers.  In view of the number of other priorities, such as the economy, healthcare reform, and financial oversight reform, although the patent reform bill has made it out of committee in the Senate, it hasnot been subjected to debate nor vote and is the House version is still in the Judiciary Committee at the House.  In a subsequent post, we will review the salient changes proposed as part of patent reform.

There will probably be other future attempts to place the Patent Reform Bill as an amendment to other bills; however, in my opinion, an issue as important to the economy as patent reform should not be relegated to being passed by the same techniques as “pork.”

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