Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Letter to Senate Calls for Patent Applicant Quality Submissions Provision in Patent Modernization Legislation

Commerce Under Secretary to Discuss Letter in Media Conference Call
Press Release

Jennifer Rankin Byrne
(571) 272-8400 or

-Friday, April 4, 11 a.m. ET

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez today sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate to share the administration's thoughts on key aspects of the Patent Reform Act (S. 1145), including the Applicant Quality Submissions provision which he cites as "the strongest step toward improved patent quality."

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas will be available via teleconference on Friday, April 4, to highlight the contents of the letter and answer questions from media.

WHO Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas

WHAT Media availability to discuss letter to U.S. senators regarding S.1145 from Commerce Secretary Gutierrez

WHEN Friday, April 4, 2008, 11 a.m. ET (please call in by 10:55 a.m.)

Reporters should call 800-857-2849 and enter the code #1531188 to participate in the call.


The letter from Secretary Gutierrez highlights the administration's positions on several elements of the bill, including:

-Applicant Quality Submissions (AQS): The administration strongly supports the AQS provision in the bill in its current form, and believes enacting AQS will reduce the number of poor quality and imprecise applications, thus dramatically reducing patent pendency and backlog, as well as the likelihood of excessive litigation.

-Inequitable conduct reform: The administration supports statutory changes to the doctrine of inequitable conduct to support AQS. However, the administration opposes statutory changes to the doctrine of inequitable conduct in the absence of a strong provision requiring AQS. Inequitable conduct reform alone, without AQS, would merely invite fraud on the patent system.

-Damages: The administration's overriding concern continues to be revisions to the law governing the appropriate assessment of damages in patent infringement cases. The administration opposes language that limits a court's discretion, but supports statutory changes that would guide courts to clearly identify the factors and evidence relevant to the determination of damages, and consider only those factors when making their determinations.

-Post-grant review: The administration supports establishment of an effective, efficient post-grant patent review process that truly functions as a lower-cost alternative to litigation for those who want to challenge a patent's validity.

To access the letter in its entirety, go to: