As expected, Democratic Senator Christopher Coons was appointed Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Intellectual Property on 16 February. Coons is no stranger to intellectual property issues and is generally regarded as a proponent of strong patent rights. Most will agree he is a solid choice for chair.
Senator Thom Tillis is the ranking member on the Republican side and is also quite active on IP issues. Like Coons, Tillis is generally regarded as favouring strong patent rights.
Both senators have a good understanding of the challenges in the US patent system, and both have co-sponsored bills to strengthen laws prohibiting infringement from domestic and foreign sources, clarify murky laws such as patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101, and limit harassment of patent owners through serial petitions requesting inter partes review (IPR) to challenge patent validity at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
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