Provisions included in some working copies of the House's version of patent-reform legislation suggest the issue may face another fight, according to several draft copies of the bill obtained by National Journal.
The draft includes major changes incorporated in the Senate patent-reform bill that passed earlier this month, including first-to-file and fee-setting authority for the Patent and Trademark Office.
And while the House version gives the PTO director the authority to set or adjust fees, it still appears to mandate specific dollar amounts in some cases.
The working copy of the legislation also appears to contain weaker post-grant review provisions than the Senate's version, including allowing a longer time for challenging a patent. The draft language also sets the threshold for disputing a patent at a “substantial new question” of its viability, instead of the tougher, “reasonable likelihood” language in the Senate bill.
Small businesses have pushed for more post-grant protections, while larger businesses have complained that the Senate’s provisions are too restrictive.
The House bill is set to be introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, next week. A spokeswoman for Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for March 30.