The Professional Inventors Alliance (PIA) is very concerned that a patent reform bill introduced last week by Republican Orrin Hatch from Utah and Democrat Patrick Leahy from Vermont, is really just a “wish list” for “antipatent, washed-up tech companies” reports CNET. The PIA believes the bill undermines the protections patents provide to individual inventors. According to CNET, PIA president Ron Riley believes “the bill would reward those who can afford to file quickly and often…will tilt the balance of power in favor of well-heeled patent pirates and would greatly lower the ability of inventors to get fair compensation when they are forced to sue disreputable companies.”
One of the main features of the bill is that it would change our procedure to award patents to the Â?first to fileÂ? rather than the Â?first to invent,Â? a measure supported by chief of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Jon Dudas. The bi-partisan bill also provides a post patent grant opposition period, allowing anyone to challenge a patent. The opposition would be before a board of administrative judges within the Patent Office, rather than in the federal court system. The hope is that the Patent Office can handle these matters more quickly and inexpensively.
The bill also attempts to stifle forum shopping and patent trolls by limiting the venues wherein a patent holder can file suit and limiting damage award to the pro rata value of the invention to the final product. Hatch has invited the public to assist in refining the bill to address potential problems with his recently introduced bill.