The Politics of Patent Law: Why Patent Reform Failed in 2015 and Prospects for 2016

Pauline M. Pelletier and Eric K. Steffe

©2016. Published in Landslide, Vol. 8, No. 6, July/August 2016, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

While patent reform appears to be an issue of perennial interest to lawmakers, the floors of Congress are littered with failed attempts to bring about large-scale, systemic change. To be sure, small and important changes to the patent code have been successfully enacted over the years. But prior to passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011, the last major patent reform occurred in 1952. This article provides an overview of pending congressional efforts to change the dynamics of patent litigation and recent events that may affect the legislative appetite for reform in 2016.

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