House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is expected to introduce a patent bill on Wednesday morning, just hours before his panel is set to hear testimony on the issue.
On Tuesday, several groups weighed in on the proposed bill, a draft of which has been circulating since late last week. In a letter to Congress, the Innovation Alliance and a string of related businesses and organizations expressed concerned about abuse during the post-grant review process.
“Too often during the debate over patent legislation, policymakers have focused narrowly on increasing the ability to knock out bad patents without regard for the collateral damage that could be inflicted on good patents as a result,” the letter reads.
In another letter, a group of conservative activists and small businesses asked lawmakers to reject the legislation in favor of a bill focused exclusively on funding the Patent and Trademark Office.
“We urge Congress to shift its attention away from the broad and technically difficult America Invents Act, and instead pass a streamlined, targeted bill that focuses only on long-term PTO funding,” the activists wrote in the letter, which was sent to House members on Tuesday.
“We urge that the proposed act not be enacted in its current form and that the Congress shift its focus to putting PTO on a sound financial footing.”
The letter is signed by nine conservative or small-business groups, including American Innovators for Patent Reform, the National Small Business Association, and the U.S. Business and Industry Council. They criticized the “first-to-file” provision, which would award patents to the inventor who files an application first, as well as changes to the post-grant review process.
A similar coalition voiced criticism of the Senate patent bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and passed with wide support from both parties.
But the Business and Industry Council's Kevin Kearns thinks that the group’s concerns may find more sympathy in the Republican-controlled House.
“I think our views on the importance of property rights will resonate with conservatives and tea party types,” Kearns said in an interview.
Witnesses at the hearing will include Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos; Steven Miller, intellectual-property vice president for Procter & Gamble; Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable; Cisco Vice President Mark Chandler; and John Vaughn, vice president of the Association of American Universities.