We have extensively covered the efforts of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and others to reform Section 101 of the Patent Act, from draft bills to congressional hearings. And after the U.S. Supreme Court said "thanks, but no thanks" to hearing American Axle v. Neapco, many posited that any change to patent eligibility would need to come from the U.S. legislature.
Those dreams – whether they are warranted or not – may have burst. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was known to be on the shortlist of potential leaders of the House subcommittee overseeing intellectual property. This led to US Inventor Inc. organizing both a protest and a petition. Neither was successful.
Law360's Ryan Davis reported on Jan. 27, 2023, that Issa is the new chairman of House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. As Davis notes, Issa was one of the original co-sponsors of the America Invents Act and stated in 2014 that one of his goals was to "address abusive patent practices by patent trolls which harm our economy's real innovators …" If interested in learning more about Issa's views on patents and, specifically, patent litigation, the following two hearing transcripts are informative: Patent Reform: Protecting American Innovators and Job Creators from Abusive Patent Litigation, and Patent Trolls: Fact or Fiction?
Issa has not stated his current priorities, but his previous comments do not sound like someone who is itching to expand which inventions are eligible for patent protection.
Two final notes: First, I'll be in San Diego for the Jan. 31-Feb. 3 AIPLA Mid-Winter Institute and speaking on Feb. 2 about (you guessed it) Section 101. Please reach out if you'll be there.
Second, I was told that controversy leads to more page views, so here we go: "Top Gun: Maverick" is bad. I understand that it plays heavily on nostalgia, but that does not make up for the middling plot and dialogue. I enjoyed the action scenes, but that was about it. I'm still working my way through the Best Picture nominees, but "Tár" is my current choice.
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