Intellectual Property

Patent Reform Pending

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider legislation today that makes it more difficult to obtain patents and lowers penalties for infringement.

Critics contend the present system favors those who obtain patents for small technology changes in an effort to win infringement suits against other inventors, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

The bill would give patents to those who are the first to file a claim, rather than the first inventor. Challenges to patents could be brought the traditional way—through an administrative proceeding or litigation—or by a hearing before a special three-judge tribunal. And treble-damage awards would be limited.

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