April 19, 2007

Update: Patent Reform Act of 2007

The ascendency of patent litigation over the past few decades — in Delaware and elsewhere — neatly tracks the United States's broader shift to an information economy and the increasing value that companies place on intellectual property. As with other areas of the law (e.g., securities), a spike in litigation often provokes a congressional response. In the realm of patents, witness the Patent Reform Act of 2007, which this and other blogs have been monitoring.

For the latest on this legislation, Patently O reported yesterday a comprehensive update, with links to primary sources, commentary, and lobbying players.

October 16, 2006

Is 2007 the Year for Patent Reform?

Conventional wisdom has it that the Patent Reform Act of 2006 is all but dead for the year. But the bipartisan measure, introduced to reform the examination process, among others, may see new life in the coming congressional session, Patently-O reported yesterday.

According to one source, there will be a renewed push in 2007 to pass the legislation, which has languished in some form or another for the past several years. "The Coalition for Patent Fairness," headed in part by several attorneys whose lobbying resume includes 1995's Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, hopes this time around will be different.

To see the reform article and the services, technology, telecommunications and energy companies that comprise the coalition, click here.

October 2, 2006

"Pilot" Patent Court Legislation Passes House

Late last week, the House of Representatives gave its assent to an experimental program designed to "encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district judges." H.R. 5418, now pending in the Senate, would authorize the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts to designate at least five district courts in three or more circuits to administer the program.

Although individual district judges would sign up to participate, patent cases would remain randomly assigned. If a judge particularly averse to patents receives a case, he or she can decline the assignment. The orphaned case is then randomly reassigned to one of the designated "patent" judges.

With the successes and excesses of patent litigation recently in the news, the question becomes: Is this program, ostentatiously labeled a "pilot program," testing the waters for a separate patent trial court?

September 29, 2006

Trademark and Copyright Bills Readied for Presidential Approval

In the latest AIPLA Report (sorry, AIPLA membership is required to read the article), it was reported that the House of Representatives agreed to a Senate amendment regarding H.R. 683 (trademark dilution) and H.R. 1036 (copyright), clearing the bills for White House approval. A copy of H.R. 683 is available here . H.R. 683's changes to the Federal Trademark Dilution Act (FTDA) are a direct response to the Supreme Court's decision in <%media(20060929-Victoria's Secret.pdf|Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc.)%> While Moseley interpreted the FTDA to require proof of actual dilution, <%media(20060929-HR 683 EAS.pdf|H.R. 683 )%> would only require claimants under the FTDA to show that the defendant's use is "likely to cause dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment." The bill then goes on to define "famous," "dilution by blurring," and "dilution by tarnishment" and to provide for fair use of famous marks.