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Supreme Court and Congress Tackle Patent Issues

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According to an article by Rick Merritt in the Electronic Engineering Times, the Supreme Court, Congress, and the United States Patent & Trademark Office are struggling with issues related to intellectual property reform. There are three patent reform bills currently before Congress, while the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a patent case filed by eBay as early as June, and the United States Patent & Tradmark Office is mired in controversy over changes in the patent application filing process.


The United States Patent & Trademark Office plans on hiring an additional 2000 new examiners to address the backlog of applications, and believes that systematic changes are necessitated in the issuance of patents and how they are defended in the court system.


In Congress, Sens. Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy are drafting legislation that tackles such key issues as:


– changing the patent system from first-to-invent to first-to-file;
– limiting damages and attorney fees in patent litigation;
– limiting court venues for patent cases;
– closing loopholes that make some patents less visible to the public; and
– setting up a new post-grant patent review process


The Supreme Court is preparing to tackle the controversial issue of injunctions in the case of MercExchange vs. eBay, where the patent holder’s power to prevent an infringer from selling a service or product will be litigated.


I would recommend you seek the advice of a patent lawyer in dealing with the complexities of filing a patent with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

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