Vermont recently became the first state to pass legislation specifically directed to patent issues (a law which, as noted by Camilla Hrdy at Patently-O, has interesting federalism implications and may or may not run into federal preemption issues). But even more patent-related activity has been taking place here in Washington, DC. Over the last few months, several bills of varying scope and substance have been introduced to address various patent- and patent-litigation-related issues. We thought it’d be useful to round up links to all of them in one brief post.
- H.R. ___, an untitled “Patent Discussion Draft” (released on May 23, 2013 by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA))
- This is a wide-ranging proposal that addresses a number of issues relating to both patents and patent litigation. For more, see the House Judiciary’s summary of the bill.
- S.1013, the Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013 (introduced May 22, 2013 by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX))
- Similar to the discussion draft above, Sen. Cornyn’s bill addresses a wide variety of issues. See summaries by Dennis Crouch at Patently-O and Julie Samuels at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- H.R. 2024, the End Anonymous Patents Act of 2013 (introduced May 17, 2013 by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL))
- This bill would require increased transparency in ownership and real party in interest information relating to U.S. patents and patent applications. It has drawn support from operating companies (such as Microsoft), trade associations (the Business Software Alliance and the Consumer Electronics Association), and even some non-practicing entities (such as IPNav).
- S.866, the Patent Quality Improvement Act of 2013 (introduced May 6, 2013 by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY))
- As noted by Patently-O, this bill would expand the USPTO’s “Covered Business Method” program to cover non-financial business methods (and would make it permanent rather than transitional).
- H.R. 845, the Saving High Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Abuse (SHIELD) Act (introduced Feb. 27, 2013 by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT))
- This would institute a partial fee-shifting scheme in patent litigation, forcing certain types of non-practicing entities to pay costs and attorneys fees if they don’t prevail on patent infringement claims. For more, see our prior post on the SHIELD Act.
Given the relatively high degree of attention that patents have been receiving, there may be more to come from other Congressmen (for example, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is the Senate Judiciary Chairman, is expected to introduce something soon). It will be interesting to see if and how these wide-ranging, diverse proposals will converge into one cohesive, comprehensive piece of legislation — and how long that may take.