Could the U.S. Patent system undergo the changes and reforms for which the public has clamored this past year? It seems that reform gathered considerable steam in 2006 with various legislative proposals (most notably the Hatch-Leahy Bill and H.R. 5418). The fact that the Supreme Court heard multiple patent cases (KSR, eBay) is perhaps the most telling sign that patent law has become a larger issue and is perhaps ripe for change. With the new Democratic Congress, and Senator Leahy taking over the Intellectual Property subcommittee, the law of patent seems poised to be an even more fertile ground for change than ever before. According to Promote the Progress, there has been an official call for reform by 14 members of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) from this last (109th) Congress. Granted, the NDC is traditionally more sympathetic to the high-tech sector, which may bother those in the biotech-pharma patent realm. However, as reported by The Hill, the New Democrats have not always voted according to the interests of high-tech companies, so even handed patent reform would not appear to be out of the question. Perhaps the ever elusive patent reformation may occur under the 110th Congress, provided that the NDC can persuade the rest of their party (and hopefully some Republicans too) that patent law needs to remain at the forefront of the issues to be confronted by our government.

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