Due to an increase in patent litigation and jury awards reaching into the millions, a new coalition is urging federal lawmakers to support legislation that would change the way the courts handle patent suits.

The Coalition for Patent Fairness, a patchwork of 45 companies from the technology, financial services and manufacturing industries — led by lobbyist Mark Isakowitz of Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock — has spent the better half of 2006 building momentum and educating Congress members about concerns the group has about the current patent system. Isakowitz says in the coming year he expects the Senate to act on patent reform legislation introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee members Orrin Hatch, R-Utah and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.