Last Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded a round of additional staff hearings on pending Senate Bills S.1720 (Leahy) entitled Patent Transparency & Improvement Act. The hearings focused on the concerns of universities, small inventors, and restauranteurs/retailers with the currently proposed legislation. At the same time, the Committee considered refinements to the Bill, including the value in adopting one or more of the concepts expressed in related Senate Bills 1612 (Hatch), 1013 (Cornyn) and 866 (Schumer).
At the forefront of these deliberations is the concern to balance “unintended consequences” with the goal of eliminating frivolous patent suits, especially those targeting downstream users of off-the-shelf products. With the legislative effort completed in the House by the passage of the Goodlatte Bill, and the Senate coming down the home stretch with their companion bill, president Obama took the bold step of calling on Congress to reform patent law in his recent State of the Union address….you see where this is going.