According to Dennis Crouch of PatentlyO.com, it looks like we are going to get long awaited patent reform. The America Invents Act (S 23) passed the Senate and now goes on to the house. From Couch (who will be testifying before the Judiciary Committee on Mar 10th):
The Senate measure includes:
* The ability for the US Patent & Trademark office to set its own fees and to eliminate the practice of fee-diversion.
* A transition to a first-to-file system as discussed previously on Patently-O.
* Broader leeway for third-party submissions with explanations during ex parte patent prosecution.
* A new “first-window” post-grant patent opposition system with broader jurisdiction (but a shorter timeframe) than reexaminations.
* A provision that eliminates certain tax strategy patents.
* Although not entirely clear at this point, it looks like damages limitations were removed from the bill prior to passage.
Republican leadership in the House, including Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (Tx) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va) appear ready to move forward with their own version of legislation. Six years ago, Representative Smith introduced the Patent Reform Act of 2005. Under the new Republican leadership, a revived and modified Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet has jurisdiction over patent reform measures.