Today we talk with Matt Cutler, a principal at Harness Dickey, about the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act (PATENT Act) of 2015. The 55-page PATENT Act is an attempt to make reforms to stop abusive patent litigation practices. It is the first patent reform bill to have bipartisan support. (See the contents of S. 1137 here.)
Patent Baristas: You are currently with Harness Dickey specializing in intellectual property litigation and Inter Partes Review and Post-Grant Review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO. Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got involved with these proceedings?
Matt Cutler: Stephen, thank you for the opportunity to tell you about myself and what I do. I am a Chicago Cubs fan trying to survive in enemy Cardinals territory down here in St. Louis. I came to town over 20 years ago to attend Washington University School of Law and stayed. As a registered patent attorney focused primarily on patent litigation, the first whispers of inter partes review proceedings intrigued me – a perfect intersection between patent prosecution and litigation. I started following the legislative and rules debate and, ultimately, when the rules were finalized, I began traveling the country to spread the news of the coming tidal wave. I knew IPR would be popular, but who could have predicted the extent to which it has fundamentally changed patent litigation?
Baristas: First off, I have to ask the question: do you think that we really need any further reforms of the U.S. patent system?
Cutler: I do believe that there is room for improvement in several of the provisions of the AIA. That was such a sweeping law, so there were bound to be areas that missed the mark, even if only slightly. The pending bills contain many more sweeping reforms, but I am of the belief that these are just starting points in a negotiation and more incremental change will ultimately be enacted. With tech companies on one side of the debate and bio/pharma companies on the other, I believe it is likely that any changes will be part of a compromise deal that will hopefully address the important issues facing each industry.