Senate Panel OKs Patent Reform Bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday designed to revamp the nation's patent system, legislation that includes several provisions that would affect small inventors.
The bill would create a more efficient process to review issued patents and to limit damages for infringement. It also would create a new class of very small inventors called "micro entities." The final vote on S. 1145 came about a month after the panel began deliberating the bill.
The panel rejected several amendments, including one to change a provision creating an apportionment rule for calculating damages in patent lawsuits. The bill would mandate that royalties from a product in a patent-infringement case be apportioned by percentages attributed to the patented use of the invention.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who offered the failed amendment, said the current apportionment approach would not be feasible for determining an infringement case for an airplane, for example, which includes hundreds of patentable parts. Others disagreed and said patent damages have spiraled out of control.
The House Judiciary panel approved its companion patent bill on Wednesday, and that measure could come before the full House before Congress takes its annual August recess.
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