On Nov. 20, the House Judiciary Committee voted 33-5 to send the Innovation Act to the floor. During the amendment process, the committee added back two important provisions: covered business method patent review and demand letter reform. The Innovation Act is meant to target patent assertion entities and the time and money they cost corporations and innovators. It includes a provision to shift fees onto the losing party in a patent suit. It would also allow consumers of products under patent dispute to wait until suppliers and manufacturers of the product complete their suit to determine whether they are allowed to continue using the product.
In terms of covered business method reviews, the new version of the Innovation Act includes provisions to investigate the practice and its utility. It would allow any entity threatened with litigation over certain patent issues to petition the patent office to review precisely what the grant and scope of the patent really are.
The provision on demand letters will require all entities that send a certain number of demand letters a year to disclose information to the patent office, such as who is sending the letters and what the patent covers. There will also be provisions for the creation of a public demand letter database, which would allow recipients to get more information on the entity making the demand.