US*MADE sounds alarm on U.S. patent proposal

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing on July 26th titled, “Oversight of the United States Patent and Trademark Office,” with USPTO Director Kathi Vidal as the main witness. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who introduced the PREVAIL Act in June, emphasized the need for more clarity over the forum where inventors defend their patents.

Later that week, US*MADE sent committee leadership a joint trades coalition letter urging Congress to stop legislative efforts such as the PREVAIL Act, which would further weaken protections against abusive patent litigation.

US*MADE is opposed to the PREVAIL Act in its current form because the bill would restrict access to inter partes review (IPR), an important tool for US manufacturers to challenge bad patents in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than litigation.

Vidal said she recognizes these concerns, but stated that her views will be informed by stakeholders’ responses to a recent advance notice of proposed rulemaking clarifying who can petition PTAB to review patents. Those responses will determine whether the office continues its controversial “Finitiv” rule for denying petitions for patent challenges based on parallel litigation, or “whether we evolve that in some way,” Vidal said.

Other topics discussed in the hearing include counterfeit products and competition with China.

Find Bloomberg Law’s coverage of the hearing here.