Are We Getting Close to Patent Reform? Senate Test Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Patent Reform Bill S.23


We have been posting over the past few weeks about developments in Congress' effort to reform the Patent Act. On March 7, the Senate allowed a test vote for the full legislative reform bill (S.23) and Senator Leahy's Manager's Amendment. The latter codifies a gatekeeping role for district courts but does not include the detailed provisions on entire market value rule and apportionment that previous bills contained. The test vote on the entire bill, including the Manager's Amendment, passed by a landslide vote of 87-3. The bill needed 60 votes to avoid a possible filibuster, and the bill made it with room to spare.

So, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that the Senate will pass S.23. Now, the focus shifts to the House. The House is preparing its own version of the legislation. Information about that legislation can be found at Fish & Richardson's legislative reform web page that's specific to patent damages: . If the House approves S.23, or something similar, it seems like legislative reform may finally reach fruition, because the White House strongly supports S.23. In fact, on February 28, the Office of Management and Budget released a statement that S.23 is a "fair, balanced and necessary effort to improve patent quality, enable greater work sharing between the USPTO and other countries, improve service to patent applicants and the public at the USPTO and offer productive alternatives to costly and complex litigation."

Tune into for updates on this fast-moving legislative debate.