Patent Reform Moving Ahead, Perhaps in Wrong Direction

September 13, 2007
Angie Drakulich
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The United States House of Representatives passed its version of the Patent Reform Act of 2007 (H.R. 1908) in a 220–175 vote.

Washington, DC (Sept. 7)-The United States House of Representatives passed its version of the Patent Reform Act of 2007 (H.R. 1908) in a 220–175 vote. Although the bill aims to fix current flaws in the US patent system and to bring it in line with those of other countries’ systems, the pharmaceutical industry is largely unhappy with the news, arguing that it will reduce patent protection.

“BIO appreciates the continued efforts by the House to improve the Patent Reform Act, but unfortunately cannot support the legislation passed today as it threatens continued biotechnological innovation,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), in a Sept. 7 statement. “We welcome improvements to the US patent system, particularly those that increase patent quality, increase public participation, and provide additional resources to the Patent and Trademark Office. However, the legislation that passed and the legislation currently pending in the Senate do far more harm than good to our nation’s patent system.”

Specifically, the Patent Reform Act of 2007 would grant patents to the first to file, rather than the first to invent, and would change how damages are calculated-including no longer considering the full value of a product. Some say this change, along with the bill’s post-grant review policy, which allows only one opportunity to challenge a patent, will make it more difficult for inventors to prove willful infringement on patent claims, according to Associated Press.

With opposition from the biopharmaceutical industry as well as other groups, it is expected that the bill will be revised before it passes the Senate,where it is now headed for review.

Read more about this topic.

Read the markup history and final language of H.R. 908.