Updated:
Original:

Patent overhaul

A long-standing patent dispute over trim tab designs will likely head to court next year as Bennett Marine and its competitor, Lenco Marine, continue to argue their cases.

But let’s go beyond individual lawsuits, for a minute, and look at the big picture.

The Patent Reform Act of 2007 updates patent laws to provide much needed reform for patent seekers and patent holders, according to its sponsors.

The bill, supported by the giant technology companies, would create a pure “first-to-file” system to bring needed clarity and certainty to the U.S. patent system. The American system is the only one in the world that still grants patents to the first inventor rather than the first to file an application, say its supporters. The bill also creates a more streamlined and effective way of challenging the validity and enforceability of patents.

Other highlights of the bill include:
- a longer period of public review of an invention
- restricts the venue in which patent litigation is filed to districts in where there is a direct relationship between plaintiff and defendant
- limits compensatory damages in infringement suits to the infringer’s direct economic gain, rather than the existing, flexible standard of a hypothetical royalty license.

Some businesses have come out against the bill, arguing the U.S. might be exposed to increased foreign competition. The bill, they say, would make it easier for foreign competitors to legally copy patented methods and products.

The AFL-CIO says the patent overhaul may limit damages for infringement.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies have voiced concern. So have universities and many manufacturers, such as Caterpillar and Dow Chemical Co. They argue the legislation is too far-reaching and would stifle innovation by weakening the value of patents.

What do you in the marine industry think?

Lois Caliri
Editor
Soundings Trade Only

Related

ABYC, CG Launch Event Series

The first one-day session in the free, online Risk Mitigation Series is scheduled for Nov. 9 and will cover electric propulsion and related topics.

ePropulsion Expands Team

The China-based electric outboard manufacturer added a marketing director for its Hong Kong office and doubled its service staff.

Limestone Responds to Market Conditions

The builder of the Aquasport, Limestone and Boca Bay brands announced increased production, a new director of marketing and potential additions to its dealer network.

Year-End Strategies to Rev Up Your Marketing Machine

Get in the marketing fast lane going into 2022.

A Cautious Outlook

Consumer confidence dipped as pandemic deaths rose.