White House opposes part of new patent bill

WASHINGTON The Bush administration expressed its concern regarding part of a patent bill that was passed by the House of Representatives, according to the Washington Post.

The administration criticized a provision changing how damages are calculated in infringement suits, criticizing the limiting of courts in determining damages. "Making this change to a reasonably well-functioning patent legal system is unwarranted and risks reducing the rewards from innovation—a result that would undercut the other useful reforms in this bill," it said in a statement.

The bill is aimed at reducing the number of patent lawsuits by allowing inventors who file for patent protection first to receive protection rather than having to prove they were the first to invent. Pharmaceutical companies are saying they need the right to defend their patents and as a result the bill was being worked on up to the last minute to address the concerns of the drug manufacturers.

The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif. and is being called the Patent Reform Act of 2007. A similar bill is being worked on in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.