Elaine Blais, JD: The Potential for US Patent Reform

Elaine Blais, JD, partner at Goodwin and head of the litigation department in Goodwin’s Boston office, discusses whether the US patent system is likely to see reform in the near future.


I think it’s likely that we’ll see significant proposals around patent reforms from some of the discussions that are going on at this point. I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see significant reforms anytime soon. And I say that not because I’m making a substantive decision about whether reforms are needed, but because history tells us that patent reform is slow and methodical, and I don’t expect it to be any different here.

The issue with patent reform is [that] one stakeholder’s dream reform might be a nightmare to another stakeholder. And we know from our prior iterations of patent reform that there will be many of discussions, lots of attempts to balance out interests of different parties, and especially in this Congress where there’s a lot of disagreement, I think it could be a lot of delay before we see anything significant happening in Congress. Looking to the courts is probably going to be a better opportunity for reforms that will have an impact on [Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, BPICA] litigation.