The Hill posted an article last night indicating that the stakeholders in the debate over patent reform are inching closer to an agreement on a Senate patent reform bill with a compromise on resolving a dispute within the IPR owners community over a provision that would change the law on damages for infringement. The House has already passed its version of patent reform legislation, which contains the controversial damages provision, which both the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries as well as The White House have urged the Senate to modify before approving its version of patent reform legislation.
Notwithstanding some disagreement over a few provisions in the patent reform legislation, all stakeholders agree that patent reform is important for many of the other provisions in the Senate and House bills for which there is consensus. Completing patent reform legislation is important for another reason as well. Bipartisan IPR enforcement legislation is pending in both the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and both committees are poised to take this up during the 110th Congress. In the House, both HR 3578 introduced by Representatives Sherman, Donnelly and Chabot and HR 4279 introduced by Chairman Conyers contain important provisions for codifying more effective coordination and management of our nation's IPR enforcement effort. In the Senate, Senators Evan Bayh and George Voinovich have championed S. 522, which would codify the establishment of effective IPR enforcement coordination both domestically and internationally, and Senators Leahy and Cornyn have introduced S.2317 , which enhances enforcement tools to protect intellectual property rights. IPR enforcement legislation is a key inititaive of the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy's Campaign To Protect America, building on and making permanent the Bush Administration's STOP Initiative, which has drawn attention to the importance of coordination of both policy and implementation in the enforcement of our nation's intellectual property law and the development of effective enforcement regimes outside the United States. With the bipartisan support indicated in the pending legislation, Congress will hopefully present President Bush with an IPR enforcement legislative package to sign in the coming months.