Patent Reform is on the Immediate Horizon - New Options for Challenging Patents Before the USPTO
- Eldora Ellison
- Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.
On June 23, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), which follows in the wake of the Senate version, S. 23, approved on March 8, 2011. Although differences between the two bills will have to be reconciled before the proposed legislation can be signed into law by the President, Congress is poised to enact major reforms to the patent laws. After many years of debate and compromise, patent reform seems to be just steps from the finish line.
We focus here on two provisions relating to challenging patents before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as currently set forth in the House bill. First, inter partes reexaminations will be replaced with inter partes review proceedings. Second, the legislation will create post-grant review proceedings for the first time. Together, these proceedings will expand the options available to competitors who wish to challenge patents before the USPTO