Senators introduce STRONGER Patents Act

Four US senators have introduced the STRONGER Patents Act “to protect and support inventors and innovators and ensure that our patent system protects this essential property right.”

Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Cotton (R- Ark.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Haw.) introduced the Act.

The Act is based on legislation that Senator Coons introduced last year with the goal of making post-issuance proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) “more fair and efficient.”

The new provisions address “recently emergent concerns” about these proceedings and “the continual weakening of patent rights by the courts.”

The STRONGER (Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience) Act is an improvement on the STRONG Patents Act, which Senator Coons introduced during the last Congress.

Senator Coons, author of the STRONGER Patents Act, said: “The value and importance of patents is astounding, contributing over $800 billion in value to the US economy and the source of millions of jobs for Americans.

“But, we must work together to ensure that the patent laws keep up with the innovators, so their ideas and businesses can fuel the American economy for generations to come.

“This means working to ensure that a patent continues to play its historic role in enabling inventors and small businesses to get funding and protect their ideas from being copied by larger corporate infringers.”

 The senators said The STRONGER Patents Act focuses on achieving the following:

  • Restoring investor confidence in patents by ensuring that the new administrative reviews at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are balanced and efficient
  • Restoring incentives for parties to reach license agreements without going to court by reestablishing that patents are property rights, enforceable with injunctions.
  • Helping universities and small businesses access the patent system, fostering the next generation of breakthrough technologies.
  • Ensuring that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has unfettered access to the fees it collects from the users of its services so that it can modernize its technology and issue patents of the highest quality.

Read a section-by-section summary of the bill here.

The senators said key changes from last year’s STRONG Patents Act include addressing the issue of “repetitive, harassing petitions in the administrative reviews at the USPTO, reducing duplication between these reviews and district court, and providing a new approach to amending patent claims during them.”

Further, the STRONGER Patents Act proposes to “restore the presumption of injunctive relief upon a finding that a patent is valid and infringed and addresses other cases in which courts have recently weakened patent rights. “