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A June 14 meeting by the House Rules Committee to schedule floor action on the pending America Invents Act, H.R. 1249, has been postponed, but amendments to the legislation—including a 34-page manager’s amendment and at least 38 additional amendments—are being circulated with the expectation that the House will take up the patent reform legislation within the week.
The manager’s amendment, offered by the bill’s chief sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), contains an array of technical revisions throughout the legislation. It also makes several substantive changes, including a re-written section on prior use defenses to infringement, a series of conforming amendments to the Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. §2182 and the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1001, new section creating a “prioritized examination fee,” and a “public enterprise fund,” new language on fraud, revisions to the original provisions on false patent-marking, deletion of provisions on transfer of venue, and revised language on the bill’s required congressional report.
The other amendments—filling some 80 pages or more—are wide-ranging. One—offered by Reps. Conyers (D-Mich.) and Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) would delete the bill’s proposed shift from a first-to-invent patent priority system. Others—by Conyers and by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Frank R. Wolf (R–Va.), and Lee Terry (R-Neb.)—would limit or omit the bill’s proposed end to congressional diversion of user fees from the Patent and Trademark Office to other government programs.
The manager’s amendment drew immediate praise from one key advocacy group.
Gary Griswold of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform in a June 14 press statement said that the manager’s amendment “provides the nation’s patent system with the tools and funding needed to promote innovation, fully serve inventors and applicants, and promote job growth.”
“The House should approve the Manager’s Amendment, keeping both the essential substantive provisions and ending fee diversion,” Griswold said, adding that the coalition “opposes further substantive amendments to the bill.”
The Rules Committee action on H.R. 1249 was postponed “subject to the call of the chair,” but there is still speculation that the patent reform legislation could move to the House floor by the end of the week.
Manager’s amendment at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/June14MngrsAmdt.pdf
Other amendments at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/HR1249Amendments.pdf
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