A US House of Representatives committee has just approved patent reform legislation aimed to improve patent quality by allowing re-evaluation of patents after they are granted. the bill will now be sent to the full House of Representatives. The Senate Judiciary Committee will debate similar legislation tomorrow.
By enabling patents to be voided, it is hoped that the number of costly patent-infringement lawsuits will be reduced. As would be expected, much of the bill is opposed by pharmaceutical companies, but is favoured by software and telecommunication developers.
Various other countries, such as Israel, the UK and India, for example, allow patents to be opposed after grant. the procedure is open to abuse, but generally is an improvement on the state of affairs in the US, where voidable patents regularly issue. It is expected that the legislation, if passed, will improve the situation.