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Senate passes patent bill, but kills limits on damages

Grant Gross | March 9, 2011
The U.S. Senate has passed an overhaul of the U.S. patent system, but has removed some controversial provisions limiting damage awards in infringement lawsuits.

"The first-to-file provision will be a gold mine for attorneys and the largest portfolio holders, but the result will burden rather than promote innovation," Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a tech trade group, said recently.

The amended version of the bill is an improvement over earlier versions, but still has problems, said Heather Greenfield, CCIA's spokeswoman.

"This bill unfortunately does not really do much to fix the abuses of the patent system that are harming our industry and innovation," she said. "As for abuses of the patent system we'd list low quality patents, patent trolls and those who use their patents as a tool to block competition from the marketplace, which can delay or even ban the next tech breakthrough."

 

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