Committee Approves Smith's Patent Bill
The House Intellectual Property Subcommittee today approved Ranking Member Lamar Smith's (R-TX) bipartisan patent reform bill known as the "Patent Reform Act of 2007" (H.R. 1908). The bipartisan bill, which Smith cosponsored with Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), represents the biggest change to patent law since the 1952 Act was written.
"Few issues are as important to the economic strength of the United States as our ability to create and protect intellectual property," Smith explained. "American IP industries account for over half of all U.S. exports, represent 40 percent of our economic growth and employ 18 million Americans."
"Strengthening intellectual property leads to economic growth, job creation and the type of creativity that has made America the envy of the world," he stated. "Our goal is to help the small inventor toiling in his garage, the high-tech firm that files thousands of patents at a time and everyone in between."
The "Patent Reform Act" implements a first-to-file standard consistent with international practice, creates a post-grant opposition system to weed out bad patents, clarifies how damages are determined in valid disputes, and reduces the number of frivolous lawsuits. Much of the current draft was written by Smith last year, when he was Chair of the House Intellectual Property Subcommittee.
"We will continue to fine-tune the bill as it moves through the legislative process," concluded Smith. "Today's bipartisan support signals that Congress is serious about completing the job of patent reform we began last year."
Smith's bill now goes to the full committee for consideration. Identical Senate legislation could move in the Senate this summer.