New Congress Promises Advance in Patent Reform

Control of the U.S. Senate passed to the Republicans last Tuesday and several important pieces of intellectual property legislation are now expected to be revived and pass through both houses of Congress.  For instance, the Republican controlled House of Representatives in 2013 passed the Goodlatte Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) with the support of the White House, but Senate Democrats obstructed advancement of the Bill.   H.R. 3309 included limits to pre-claim-construction discovery, narrowing the estoppel provision for Post-Grant Review filings, codifying double patenting, and a significant heightening of the pleading standards in patent cases, among other measures.  With the passing of control of the Senate to the Republicans on November 4, 2014, a revised version of the Innovation Act is expected clear both houses in 2015.  In addition to these measures, legislation focused on the creation of a federal private right of action for trade secrets theft and measures furthering the attack on patent trolls are expected.