Notice went out yesterday that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is set to release his patent reform bill (“The Innovation Act”). A Hearing is scheduled to take place next Tuesday and will involve the full Judiciary Committee and not just the IP Subcommittee. You can review The Innovation Act here.
Under the proposed bill, companies suing for patent infringement would have to be more detailed in their infringement claims and more transparent in their financial backing. Additionally, the entity bringing the lawsuit would be limited in the scope of documents it can force its opponents to produce during discovery. The entity bringing the case can keep details about the infringement claims sealed. This bill is driven in part by concerns of companies on the receiving end of patent infringement lawsuits who complain that they don’t receive enough information about the details of the alleged infringement.
It is unclear which portions, if any, of this new legislation will actually survive to a vote or become law. Historically, changes in patent law, whether from Congress or the Courts, has led to greater opportunity for Ocean Tomo to assist clients with the generally rising standard of diligence. I suspect this will be the same though some provisions would clearly delay focus on damages, which is in conflict with courts wanting to address the damage issues earlier to assure that the case has a financial cost/benefit.