There is a general expectation that patent reform will return to the Congressional agenda next year, so the Federal Trade Commission has put itself at the head of the hearings queue.
On Dec. 5, it "will hold the first of a possible series of public hearings to explore the evolving market for intellectual property (IP). . . . The FTC will examine changes in IP law, patent-related business models, and new learning about the operation of the IP marketplace since the issuance in October 2003 of the Commission report To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy."
The Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit will give a keynote address, and three panels will address developing business models, recent and proposed changes in remedies law (including their impact on innovation and consumers), and legal doctrines that affect the value and licensing of patents, such as the recent Supreme Court cases on obviousness, declaratory judgment and exhaustion, and doctrines that make the scope and enforcement of patents unpredictable.
Comments will be open until February 5.