This year's attempt at pushing patent reform was introduced to Congress recently by a pair of
Democrats, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and
Representative Howard Berman (D-California), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
Courts/Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. The legislation, The Patent Reform Act
of 2007, is actually an updated version of a similar bill introduced in 2006. To put it simply, large
technology companies want changes to the patent laws. But some of the smaller companies fear
that these changes may leave them exposed.
Some of the largest United States companies would like to see sweeping changes to the patent
laws, especially in those cases where such laws have hindered profitability because of patents held
by much smaller firms. Of course, changes that favor the larger companies that can afford the
additional legal expenses for filing and protecting patent rights will do little for the smaller,
more creative firms that often rely on one or two key innovations as the basis for their business.
At least one group, the Innovation Alliance (www.innovationalliance.net), wishes to use The
Patent Reform Act of 2007 to improve the quality of granted patents in this country, rather than
make it easier for larger companies to take away innovations from smaller firms. Especially those
working in technology should not have to be reminded that the backbone of technology in this
country is the small and creative firms not afraid to gamble on new ideas.