Posts Tagged: "Senator Chris Coons"

Tillis, Leahy Introduce Legislation Mandating Reports, USPTO Improvements on Patent Quality

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today announced the introduction of the Patent Examination and Quality Improvement Act of 2022, which is aimed at “evaluat[ing] and improv[ing] the patent examination process and the overall quality of patents issued by the USPTO,” according to a press release. Last week, Tillis told IAM that he would be introducing legislation to reform U.S. patent eligibility law, which is still to come. The bill announced today instead focuses on providing clarity around “what constitutes patent quality, the setting of patent quality metrics, and how the quality of work product performed by patent examiners is measured within the office.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances USPTO-FDA Collaboration Bill Toward Floor Vote

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary convened a brief executive business meeting to discuss a series of judicial nominees selected by the Biden Administration, as well as a pair of proposed bills. One of those bills, the Interagency Patent Coordination and Improvement Act of 2022, follows various efforts to limit certain patent rights in the pharmaceutical industry and was passed favorably out of the Committee via voice vote toward a full vote on the Senate floor.

Vidal Agrees Eligibility Needs More Clarity in Senate Judiciary Committee Questioning of Two IP Nominees

Today, the full Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to question two key IP nominees: Judge Leonard Stark of the of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, who was nominated to replace Judge Kathleen O’Malley on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC); and Katherine Vidal, the nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). IPWatchdog has previously reported on the qualifications of both candidates and what their appointments might mean for IP law and practice going forward. While neither nominee made any particularly earth shattering statements, as is often the case in such hearings, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a vocal IP advocate, said he was heartened by Vidal’s acknowledgement that it has become “very difficult to understand the contours of [patent eligibility] law.” Vidal also stated that the current USPTO guidelines on eligibility, which were revised by former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu to provide more clarity, are consistent with the law right now.

Coons and Hirono Raise Concerns Over Pride in Patent Ownership Act Penalties

During a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s IP Subcommittee today, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) were the only senators present to question the Pride in Patent Ownership Act’s (PPOA’s) approach to penalizing patent owners who fail to record accurate ownership information within 90 days after the issuance date. The hearing included testimony from four witnesses on the topic of the PPOA introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) in September. Leahy explained in his introduction that the same fundamental principle of disclosure that underpins issuance of a patent should extend to patent ownership information. There is presently no requirement that ownership information be publicly available after a patent issues.

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Legislation to Reduce Drug Prices, Rein in Pharma Industry Practices

Earlier today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an Executive Business Meeting in which the Committee discussed and favorably reported four bills aimed at reducing prescription drug prices for consumers and curbing perceived abuses of the patent system by brand pharmaceutical companies. The bills would do so by increasing the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) authority to initiate enforcement actions against drug companies. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened the meeting with an explanation of the need for the bills. He said that nearly 40% of U.S. patients struggle to pay for medication. The world’s best-selling drug, Humira, brought in $16 billion in sales in 2019 and Humira manufacturer, AbbVie, has obtained 130 patents on the drug, with 90% filed after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

Senate IP Subcommittee Mulls Ways to Improve Patent Quality (Again)

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property on Tuesday heard from four witnesses on the topic of “Protecting Real Innovations by Improving Patent Quality.” The topic has been addressed by the Senate IP Subcommittee before, and long-debated in patent circles generally. Under the leadership of its new Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Subcommittee now seems to be revisiting the conversation and looking for practical fixes.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Asks Hirshfeld to Gather Info on Eligibility Law by Next Year

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE) sent a letter on Friday to the Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Drew Hirshfeld, asking him to “publish a request for information on the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence in the United States, evaluate the responses,” and provide the senators with a detailed summary of the findings in order to assist them as they consider appropriate legislative action.

Twist Emerges in Senate IP Subcommittee Leadership for 117th Congress

On Sunday, February 14, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the Subcommittees and Subcommittee Chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the 117th Congress. Many in the IP universe had hoped Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the Ranking Member of the Senate IP Subcommittee for the 116th Congress, would be appointed the IP Subcommittee Chair, considering his strong support for various IP reforms along with the previous IP Subcommittee Chair, Thom Tillis (R-NC). Tillis will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee this Congress, but Coons was not selected to serve as Chair.

USPTO Responds to Patent Bar Gender Gap Inquiry, Mulls Changes to Registration Process

The 2020 “Progress and Potential” report produced by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) focused on women and inventorship. Recently, however, members of Congress asked the USPTO to consider a gender gap in patent practitioners, rather than inventors. This request is based on an article authored by Mary T. Hannon of DePaul University that argued that there is a formidable gender gap in individuals eligible for the patent bar, primarily based on the categories of technical background required to sit for the exam. Last week, the USPTO replied to the December letter—which was sent by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE)—citing statistics that found 29.22% of the 397 applicants that have taken and passed the registration examination since October 2019 selected the “Ms.” field on their applications and that, of the 1,937 applicants who have submitted applications electronically since October 19, 2019, 65.67% chose the “Mr.” salutation while only 34.33% chose “Ms.”

Washington Insiders Say Farewell to 2020 and Look Ahead to 2021

As we thankfully see 2020 fading into the rear-view mirror and all look forward to a hopefully much better 2021, we want to take a moment to reflect on what the past year brought us and how the stage is set for another very fluid and consequential year for intellectual property policy. In times like these, it is clear that leadership matters more than ever. During some of the most challenging times our country has faced, there were a number of places where we saw strong leadership result in tangible progress. This year has already shown us a dramatic first few days. Beyond the tragic events in the U.S. Capitol, we saw the somewhat unexpected shift of power in the Senate to Democratic control based on the election of both Rev. Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff in Georgia. It is clear that the new Congress and the new Biden Administration will face huge challenges before we approach anything close to “normal” in any sense. That said, when it comes to IP, what can we expect?

‘We Want Action’: Rightsholder Reps Address Platforms in IP Subcommittee Hearing, as DMCA Reform Draft Looms

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held its last hearing of the year on reforms to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) today, three days before Subcommittee Chairman Thom Tillis (R-NC) is set to release a discussion draft of a DMCA reform bill he has said will contain “revolutionary changes to online copyright law.” Tuesday’s hearing included representatives of YouTube and Facebook; Twitter refused to participate, and Tillis recently published a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressing his disappointment with the decision.

The Comments Are In: More Have Their Say on USPTO Discretion to Institute AIA Trials

Submissions in response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) “Request for Comments on Discretion To Institute Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board” were received through the deadline of December 3, 2020. The Request was published in the Federal Register on October 20, 2020 and a total of 843 comments were received. IPWatchdog previously highlighted comments from individuals and organizations including Senator Thom Tillis, Robert Stoll, Conservatives for Property Rights, US Inventor’s Randy Landreneau and the Small Business Technology Council. Below are some additional highlights from the many submissions.

What’s Fair? Senate IP Subcommittee Contemplates Problems with Copyright Fair Use Regime

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property on Tuesday continued its year-long series of hearings on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), this time focusing on the question, “How Does the DMCA Contemplate Limitations and Exceptions Like Fair Use?” Subcommittee Chairman Thom Tillis (R-NC) said that fair use has traditionally been “a bit of a touchy subject in copyright discussions,” but plays an important role in encouraging free speech and promoting creativity. Rather than focus on legal questions of fair use like those before the Supreme Court in Google v. Oracle, Tillis said the hearing was meant to discuss how the original DMCA accounted for fair use and how a reform bill should consider it. Subcommittee Ranking Member Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) added that fair use is “a contentious and challenging subject” and needs to strike a balance between safeguarding free speech while combating digital piracy and ensuring creators are fairly compensated.

First Task for Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019: Define ‘Sustainable Chemistry’

On Thursday, July 23, the United States Senate passed the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019 as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Third Senate IP Subcommittee Hearing on DMCA: The ‘Grand Bargain’ is No Longer Working

In the first part of a two-panel hearing today on whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is working for the 21st Century, Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Ranking Member Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) said he was struck by the conclusion of a recent Copyright Office report that found that Congress’ original intended balance for section 512 “has been tilted askew.” Subcommittee Chairman, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), added that fixing the problems may require designing an entirely new system, as “the grand bargain of the DMCA is no longer working and not achieving the policy goals intended.”