CCIA President & CEO Ed Black has written to the Senate opposing S.23, the Patent Reform Act of 2011. The bill has been marked up by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a floor vote this afternoon.
The bill raises a number of concerns for the tech sector. The proposed move to a first-to-file offers no provision for prior users and raises the prospect of a stampede to file patents, which would further increase the 1.2 million application backlog at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Although similar to a draft circulated spring, the bill has new section designed to eliminate patents on tax planning, but the Committee has held no hearings on this issue, and it would appear to validate existing tax planning patents as well as other patents on legal compliance.
“We do not believe that the Committee intended this result,” says Black, “but based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski v. Kappos last year, that would be the result.”
The bill also raises concerns in the tech sector about post-grant review, reexamination, inequitable conduct, and venue. “It is ironic,” Black adds. “The reform process instigated by the tech sector six years has led to legislation that is less desirable than the status quo. On the whole, it will inhibit the technology sector and impede future reform. The first-to-file provision will be a goldmine for attorneys and the largest portfolio holders, but the result will burden rather than promote innovation.”