Last week Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Representative Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) reintroduced the STRONGER Patents Act, originally introduced in 2017. While many recently proposed patent bills would make it easier to challenge patents, the STRONGER Patents Act would limit the ability of third parties to challenge granted patents in USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings. While most patent owners would welcome these changes, will enough members of Congress agree that the U.S. needs stronger patents to roll-back many provisions of the America Invents Act?
According to the press release on Sen. Coons webpage, the aim of the STRONGER Patents Act is “to protect and support inventors and innovators and ensure that our patent system protects this essential property right.” Key objectives of the legislation include:
As outlined in this section-by-section summary, the bill would modify post-grant PTAB proceedings in the following ways:
Other provisions are aimed at providing patent owners with “quiet title” to their patents. These would:
According to Sen. Coons’s press release, the bill has the following bipartisan, bicameral support:
That’s an impressive number of supporters, but still a long way from a majority vote.