House Passes HR 6621, Spares Pre-GATT Patents

20 December 2012 PharmaPatents Blog

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of HR 6621 that does not includes the provisions that could have effectively eliminated the term of any pending patent applications that were filed before June 7, 1995 (“pre-GATT applications”). Instead, the bill requires the USPTO to submit a “report” on pre-GATT applications. (The bill still includes the troubling Patent Term Adjustment provisions that I wrote about in this article.)

The Report

As set forth in the amended version of HR 6621, the USPTO will have to submit a report to Congress on the following issues relating to pre-GATT applications:

  1. the total number of pending pre-GATT applications that are not subject to a secrecy order
  2. the filing date of each such application
  3. the earliest priority date claimed by each such application
  4. the inventor and assignee named on each such application
  5. the amount of time that examination of each such application has been delayed because of an interference, appeal to the Board, district court civil action under 35 USC § 145 or 146, or appeal to the Federal Circuit under 35 USC § 141
  6. any other information about such applications that the USPTO Director believes is relevant to their pendency

The bill requires that the report be submitted within 4 months of the date of enactment.

Still Objectionable?

According to an article by Dennis Crouch on PatentlyO, the vote on HR 6621 was held up by concerns raised by Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca.) regarding the requirement to identify the inventors and assignees of pending pre-GATT applications. Still, the bill passed by a vote of 308-89, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Perhaps the Senate will take a closer look at the Patent Term Adjustment issues?

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