On Thursday April 2nd, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Patent Reform Act of 2009 (S. 515) by 15-4 vote after an agreement was reach on how to award damages in infringement cases. The bill establishes judges as the mechanism for deciding hwat evidence can be presented to juries in determining how to award damages. Additionally, the compromise addresses post-grant review of patents, in-equitable conduct by patent applicants and venue rules for patent infringement cases. The committee rejected an amendment offered by Senator Jon Jyl (R-AZ) to raise the threshold for patents to be challenged in a post-grant review process. According to Senator Dianne Feinsten (D-CA), the legislation “heals” the rift between large technology corporations and universities, manufacturers, and smaller technology companies. The actiontaken by the Senate Judiciary Committee has been endorsed by several national higher education association. Further work on the legislation in both chambers of Congress is required.
A full copy of the Senate Judiciary Committee legislation is available here.