The Senate has scheduled to vote on final passage of H.R. 1249 for 4 p.m. (ET) today.
A handful of amendments to the bill have been proposed. However, none of them are likely to be approved. President Obama will be speaking to a joint session of Congress later this evening.
Sen. Coburn has proposed an amendment to absolutely prohibit fee diversion — allowing the USPTO to spend the fees it collects.
H.R. 1249 includes a provision that would retroactively lengthen the deadline for applying for a patent term extension. Sen. Sessions has proposed an amendment stripping that provision from the bill. This particular provision of the reform has no other purpose than to reinstate the The Medicine Company’s (MDCO’s) patent covering its Angiomax drug. The law firm WilmerHale is on the hook for substantial malpractice damages due to the filing debacle. These two firms have spent around $20 million lobbying Congress on this issue.
Sen. Cantwell has proposed separate amendments — The first would eliminate the the business method patent ‘transitional program.’ Failing that, a separate amendment would limit the scope of the program only to “patents claiming abstract business methods” and not to patents covering “technological” or “nonfinancial” inventions.
Sen. Paul has proposed an amendment to include the statement that “It is the sense of Congress that Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner no longer holds the confidence of Congress or of the people of the United States.”
Sen. Johnson proposed an amendment to limit all regulatory action by any federal agency until the US unemployment rate drops to 7.7%.