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5 June 2015Americas

BIO welcomes IPR reforms as PATENT Act works through Congress

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has supported potential amendments to the Protect American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act (PATENT Act), which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday (June 4).

In a statement published today (June 5), the organisation backed changes to both inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR) proceedings proposed during the committee’s vote on the PATENT Act.

The PATENT Act is aimed at targeting abusive patent litigation asserted by non-practising entities.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the PATENT Act. Among its proposals are shifting fee burdens to losing parties if their infringement claim is not considered “objectively reasonable”.

There is also a requirement for asserting parties to disclose details about the patent and the nature of the alleged infringement to the defending party.

But it’s the tabled modifications to the IPR and PGR that BIO is particularly interested in. In the proposed amendments to the bill, the legislators considered limiting how often a party can challenge patents through IPRs and PGRs at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Also, if the amendments are adopted, the statute must explicitly state that patents will  be presumed valid when they are challenged at the PTAB, and all records of challenges will be made publicly available. The organisation said these amendments concern the “basic fairness of these proceedings”.

Chuck Grassley, a member of the Republican Party and a co-sponsor of the bill, said such amendments will be considered as the bill continues on to the Senate.

BIO added: “Biotechnology companies rely upon the strength of their patents to raise and invest the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to develop and bring to market the next generation of inventions.

“Without strong patent protections, revenue streams will dry up, degrading our industry’s ability to provide solutions to the most pressing medical, agricultural, industrial and environmental challenges the world faces.”

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