Who Will Patent Reform Help?

This year's attempt at pushing patent reform was introduced to Congress recently by a pair of 
Democrats, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and 
Representative Howard Berman (D-California), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee 
Courts/Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. The legislation, The Patent Reform Act 
of 2007, is actually an updated version of a similar bill introduced in 2006. To put it simply, large 
technology companies want changes to the patent laws. But some of the smaller companies fear 
that these changes may leave them exposed.

Some of the largest United States companies would like to see sweeping changes to the patent 
laws, especially in those cases where such laws have hindered profitability because of patents held 
by much smaller firms. Of course, changes that favor the larger companies that can afford the 
additional legal expenses for filing and protecting patent rights will do little for the smaller, 
more creative firms that often rely on one or two key innovations as the basis for their business. 

At least one group, the Innovation Alliance (www.innovationalliance.net), wishes to use The 
Patent Reform Act of 2007 to improve the quality of granted patents in this country, rather than 
make it easier for larger companies to take away innovations from smaller firms. Especially those 
working in technology should not have to be reminded that the backbone of technology in this 
country is the small and creative firms not afraid to gamble on new ideas.
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