[JURIST] US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] and other leading members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on Wednesday introduced [press release] the Patent Reform Act of 2007 [H.R. 1908, bill overview], which would overhaul current US patent laws in three major ways. First, it would change the current system of granting patent rights to the first inventor and instead adopt a "first-to-file" system, recognizing patent rights in the first person who actually files for patents. Second, it would amend the system of post-patent review for those seeking to challenge the validity of a patent. Third, the bill imposes more stringent regulations for awarding damages in infringement cases, based on the value of the patent infringement.
Leahy introduced [CNET News report] a similar bill [S. 3818 text] last August, but it did not pass through the last session of Congress. Many industry leaders have called for patent reforms [JURIST report] to curb abusive litigation and protect technological development, but some pharmaceutical companies and smaller inventors say that the proposed changes would give even more patent control to larger companies. IDG News Service has more.