A cloture vote on the House version of patent reform (H.R. 1249) will
apparently face U.S. senators on September 6, 2011, after they return to Washington,
D.C., from their summer break. The cloture mechanism, which requires
60 votes for approval, would allow the Senate to bring debate over the bill to
a swift close, although it remains unclear whether any amendments will be
allowed. The Senate passed its own version of patent reform legislation (S. 23),
which differs to some extent from the House proposal, particularly in how the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would handle the fees it collects. See BNA Life
Sciences Law & Industry Report, August 12, 2011.
In a related development, generic drug industry interests are reportedly
concerned about a House bill amendment that would redefine the deadline
for filing a patent extension. It was purportedly introduced primarily on behalf
of a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company that missed a filing deadline
some 10 years ago and has been trying to correct its oversight ever since. A
generics industry spokesperson reportedly said, “If enacted, it would make the
deadline for filing a patent term extension essentially meaningless, and treat
patentees differently than anyone else to whom statutory deadlines apply.
And all to benefit one company that, by choice, waited until the last minute
to file a simple form that hundreds of other companies have timely filed since
1984.” See The Hill, August 6, 2011.