New Senate Bill, Patent Act of 2015 Introduced
Today, key drafters of the America Invents Act introduced their own bipartisan patent reform bill in the Senate. (Senators, Grassley (R - Iowa), Leahy (D- Vt.); Coryn (R - Tx), Schumer (D -NY), Lee (R- UT), Hatch (R- UT), and Klobuchar (D - Minn.)). The bill entitled: Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015, or Patent Act of 2015 for short (here), is a compromise version of H.R. 9 (The Innovation Act). The bill wisely steers clear of the most extremist proposals of the Strong Act and House Bill.
The bill attempts compromise on the controversial fee shifting proposal of the House bill (major sticking point) by creating and "objectively unreasonable standard" for such an award as opposed to the loser-pays presumption of the House Bill. This would keep the determination in control of the judiciary, as it should be. Other key issues addressed include enhanced pleading requirements for patent suits, discovery changes, stays of customer suits, and provision to reign in abusive demand letters. The Patent Act leaves PTAB trial proceedings undisturbed. The one and only substantive change provided in the bill on the PTAB would fix the 102(e) drafting mistake of the AIA. This technical fix is is long overdue.
Given the significant influence of the senators backing the Patent Act of 2015, and the attempt at compromise, it may be that there is hope for 2015 after all.