The House of Representatives this afternoon approved a linkurl:bill;http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:2:./temp/~c110eyTziP:: outlining major changes to the patent process. Attempts at legislation reforming the system have been linkurl:brewing;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15750/ for about five years, but biotech and pharma have vociferously protested some of the proposed changes. Chief among them is its proposal to reduce damages that can be demanded in infringement suits. The bill would also change the US system from first to invent to first to file, bringing it in line with the patent rules of most other countries worldwide. Industry leaders say the reforms are great for the high-tech sector, where a product is built from many small parts, each distinctly patentable, and each a target for tying up the development of the product. But, they say, the same rules disadvantage drug companies, which build their fortunes on just a handful of widely applied patents, and which they would have less power to...
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