Patent Reform Bill Delayed Again
The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed consideration of the patent reform bill yet again. The bi-partisan bill, aimed at combatting patent trolls or non-practicing entities, was widely expected to go before the committee this week. However, by Monday evening, hopes had begun to fade as negotiations continued into the night. Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement promising a new version of the bill would be circulated immediately following the spring recess. The delay may be welcome news for the Partnership for American Innovation (PAI), a lobby launched just this past week, representing industry giants IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer, and DuPont, among others. Although patent reform is thought to benefit large companies who are often the targets of patent trolls, PAI cautions against imprudent reforms that could threaten the ability to spur innovation particularly with respect to biotechnology and software patents. With such powerful companies joining the fray, it should surprise no one if, post-recess, the bill runs into further delays.
Supreme Court Considers Software Patents
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Monday for Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International, a case with potentially serious ramifications on software patents and the tech sector. The case involves patents for a computerized form of escrow and is seen by some as a ripe opportunity for the Court to significantly curb software patents. At Monday’s arguments, however, the Court signaled that it intended to tread carefully, describing the situation as navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.