Patent reform up in the Senate

A bill to reform the U.S. patent process will be the second major piece of legislation taken up by Senate when it returns from the Presidents Day break on Feb. 28.

The Patent Reform Act of 2011, S. 23, was reported to the full Senate in early February by the Judiciary Committee, and is supported by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Two similar versions of the bill have been passed by the committee since 2008 but have failed to advance.

The bill would modernize the U.S. patent system, moving it from a first-to-file system to a first-to-invent system. That change, aimed at reducing patent litigation costs, would bring the U.S. system in line with those of almost every other country in the world.


Also on the agenda for the last week of February are two judicial confirmations: Amy Totenberg and Steve Jones, both to be U.S. District judge for the Northern District of Georgia.


The Senate will convene at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28 and proceed to morning business after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) reads George Washington’s Farewell Address to the Senate.