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Congress recently took up patent reform, with several hearings during the past few months and a joint House-Senate bill offered in April. Unfortunately, several bad ideas seem to be taking hold, while some good ones may be overlooked. We hope the situation can be improved through amendments to the present bill or new hearings and bills because the costs of going the wrong way are significant: less innovation, slower growth and fewer jobs.

A common theme of most proposed changes is to make it more difficult to obtain or keep a patent by granting a government administrator or judge greater discretion in various procedures to determine whether a patent should issue or remain in force. These procedures go by various names — enhanced examination, opposition, re-examination and second-window review. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court just raised the bar for obviousness in KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 127 S.Ct. 1727.

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