Patent Reform Act of 2005 Not Implemented

Despite high hopes, the Patent Reform Act introduced in 2005 has not been implemented.  As background, the Patent Reform Act was introduced by representative Lamar Smith as a result of pressures from various groups and issues surrounding the current patent system.  The Patent Reform Act was intended to overhaul multiple aspects of patent practice. Among the major areas being reformed, the Patent Reform Act overhauls basic procedures including the filing of patent applications, how patent practitioners are regulated, and even how patents are enforced.  The patent reform act was designed to please or compromise between various industry groups while at the same time invigorating the patent system. In addition to the major publicized changes the Patent Reform Act proposes other alterations that, while receiving less notice, have just as much practical effect. Given the broad scope of the proposed changes, there was not enough time to accommodate the various industry comments and concerns on the ramifications of the proposed reforms.  As such, the Patent Reform Act was likely too ambitious a project to be passed in its initial form given its attempt to revise the existing first to invent system in addition to the introduction of limitations on injunctions and damages.  While not presently enacted, given the interest generated by the proposed reforms, it is likely that many of the elements of the Patent Reform Act will be introduced in a future session of Congress.  For an overview of the proposed changes in the Patent Reform Act of 2005, as well as their practical consequences, please see James G. McEwen, Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease? An Overview of the Patent Reform Act of 2005, 5 J. MARSHALL REV. INTELL. PROP. L. 55 (2005).  An electronic copy of the article can be found at http://www.jmls.edu/ripl/ or by email request to James G. McEwen (jmcewen@smbiplaw.com).

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