U.S. Patent Reform Moves from Possible to Probable

We have refrained from writing much about patent reform in the U.S., wishing to avoid the inevitable random flashes of déjà vu (we've listened to patent reform talk for over six years now). S23 increased the probability of true reform when it proposed conformance with the international first-to-file protocol. Such a system has its detractors, but eliminating the earlier use claim reduces litigation risk significantly, correspondingly increasing the value of patents. And as we have discussed before, putting patents in the arsenals of well-heeled, willing-to-protect organizations (which this legislation will tend to do) also increases their value. This theme got our attention, and so we held our breath to see what the House would do.

H.R. 1249, sponsored by Lamar Smith of Texas, and introduced this week, maintains the theme.  As always, there are details to work out. However, reform had no chance if the House did not accede to first-to-file.

According to Bloomberg, the pro-reform congressmen hope to have legislation in front of the President before the end of the year.