IPMemes points to this interesting look at the fight over patent reforms these days: Patent reform in Congress drives wedge in industry [pdf]
The Patent Act of 2005, introduced in the House of Representatives in June, is intended to overhaul 50-year-old legislation that has failed to keep up with fast-moving and comprehensive changes in technology, particularly in the life sciences and information technology sectors.
[...] Everyone agrees that the system needs improving, but the venture capital industry is split on how this should be done.
The division is broadly between the life science companies, which typically depend on just one patent, and IT companies, which often rely on a raft of ideas that couldn’t be sufficiently covered by any single patent.
“Life science companies are unfundable without patents,” said Mark Radcliffe, partner in the Silicon Valley office of law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. “Because of the length of time it takes to develop a drug, a patent is essential for the company to be able to sell onto a pharmaceutical company.”
“IT companies have dramatically shorter timelines — products can become outdated after as little as six months or may even extend beyond a single patent, so a patent isn’t as crucial,” Radcliffe said.
Both sides have been lobbying strongly — the life scientists for a strong patent that would be harder to challenge and overturn and for which they are willing to pay, while the IT companies, often built on a collection of internally generated patents and patents licensed from other companies, would like a streamlined process making a challenge easier.