Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced a bill in the Senate that would expand the AIA’s temporary review of business method patents in the financial services industry. The bill would simply delete the sunset provision in the AIA and replace the “financial product or service” language in the AIA with “an enterprise, product, or service.” The intent, presumably, is to expand the current PTO review to include business method patents in any industry, not just the financial services industry.
The bill is designated as S. 866 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
While the bill does not use the term “patent trolls” at all, Sen. Schumer recently issued a press release where he indicated that he intended to introduce legislation to crack down on patent trolls. These entities are costing “legitimate companies” billions of dollars per year. He asserts that the expanded potential to have patents reviewed by administrative experts at the PTO will save legitimate companies on litigation costs.
Some might suggest that this legislation can have a very different effect from that intended by Sen. Schumer. If the patent makes it through the PTO review a second time (and they usually do for reexamination), the patent may actually be viewed more strongly by juries. The patent has not only survived initial review by the PTO, but it has also withstood the additional scrutiny of the new review procedure.