The Patent Reform Act of 2005 will not be enacted this year. There is still a possibility of a back-door push to include some provisions in an omnibus appropriations bill, but at this point it is unclear what those provisions would be and whether they would be successful.
The failure of reforms this year has several sources:
- Lack of time: In the Senate, the committee handling intellectual property law is the same as the judiciary committee. This term has been filled with long debates on judicial appointments that left little time for patent reform.
- Patents are not yet hot: It is still difficult to get Washington excited about patent law. Historically, reform measures have taken years to build up enough inertia to get through both the House and Senate.
- Overreaching: The proposed reforms ended up being overreaching in a way that pitted major lobbying groups against one another. This impasse eventually killed the possibility of moving forward with substantive changes this year.
One of the proposed measures would have eliminated the best mode requirement. Dale Carlson of Wiggin & Dana has written a short article explaining his reasons for keeping best mode. [Article].