Latest Try For Patent Reform Still Divides Valley
Attorneys in Silicon Valley say ppatent reform took a big step forward when the full Senate agreed to debate the Patent Reform Act of 2011 when it returns from the Presidents Day break. But they're still not convinced that this latest effort will actually become law.
Similar bills have been introduced for years, only to flounder as controversial provisions relating to damages and infringement divided the tech, pharmaceutical and small-business communities. Those divisions will remain, lawyers say, and who knows what the House will do.
That the latest committee vote was unanimous, a floor vote is now scheduled, and a filibuster is off the table are all encouraging, said Mark Lemley, director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology and a partner at Durie Tangri.
"The sticking point in the past has been the inability to get the bill to the Senate floor," Lemley said. "That said, the House has yet to do anything this year, and they may have a different approach that is designed to implement more reforms, and which might prove more controversial."