The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Patent Reform bill today by a vote of 15-4. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, voted against the bill. He was upset with the lack of provisions limiting inequitable conduct.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced an amendment that would raise the standard for art that will trigger a post-grant opposition. His amendment was defeated. He noted that he had other amendments he would like to introduce, but it seemed futile at this juncture. Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was clearly in a hurry to get the bill passed by the committee.
Patent Reform opponents, such as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector, seem to be in favor of the revised bill. On the pro-patent reform side, the Coalition for Patent Fairness issued a statement calling the bill a step forward. It is clear that they are hoping for a stronger bill from the House, particularly on the issue of damages.
The bill now moves to the full Senate where there is certain to be additional debate and potentially more changes.
IP Watchdog has details on today’s hearing.