As expected, the Senate’s bill on Patent Reform, S. 23, was approved by the Judiciary Committee yesterday. What might be a bit surprising was the near unanimity of the vote. The bill now heads to floor of the Senate.
Relatively few amendments were proposed by the committee members. Patent Docs has a complete summary of the proceedings. The senators seemed to be in agreement about the need to pass legislation to end the patenting of business methods, including tax avoidance strategies. They apparently don’t like the Supreme Court’s Bilski decision.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) indicated that he will raise an amendment when the bill comes to the floor for debate that would end fee diversion at the PTO. This would seem to be straight forward, but of course any time revenue is discussed in Congress, there is no such thing as straight forward. Sen. Coburn and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) had quite a discussion as to who would oversee PTO expenditures.
Congress seems to be adicted to stealing money from the PTO. IPWatchdog notes some sources that believe it will be difficult for an amendment to end fee diversion to pass Congress. Without an end to fee diversion, there is no point to patent reform.