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In February and March 2005, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), and the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) will co-sponsor a nationwide series of town meetings on patent reform. The first three meetings will take place in San Jose, California, on February 18, 2005; Chicago, Illinois, on March 4, 2005; and Boston, Massachusetts, on March 18, 2005. They will bring together government officials, business representatives, independent inventors, scholars, lawyers, and other members of the patent community to discuss the most significant recommendations for patent reform made by the FTC, the National Academies’ STEP Board, and the AIPLA.

Keynote speakers are Will Poole, Senior Vice President, Microsoft, in San Jose; Kenneth Dam, former Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Treasury and now a professor at the University of Chicago, in Chicago; and David Boloker, Chief Technology Officer for Emerging Technology at the IBM Software Group and Cavan Redmond, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the BioPharma Business Unit at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, in Boston. The Honorable Jon Dudas, Undersecretary and Director, United States Patent and Trademark Office, will be the luncheon speaker at all three events. The series will conclude with a meeting in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 2005, with an agenda to be determined later.

Agendas for the February and March 2005 town meetings are attached. Sessions will begin with brief explanations of the proposed changes, followed by opportunities for stakeholders in the patent system to raise and discuss the pros and cons of, and possible improvements to, those proposals.

In the last two years, a series of developments have significantly advanced patent reform proposals. In October 2003, the FTC released its report entitled, “To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy,” available at In April 2004, the National Academies’ STEP
Board released its report entitled, “A Patent System for the 21st Century,” available at The AIPLA has issued detailed responses to both reports; they are available at These documents contain recommendations to reform the patent system, including legislative and regulatory changes, which have triggered extensive discussions among the business and patent communities. In October 2004, Representatives

Howard Berman and Rick Boucher of the United States House of Representatives introduced a bill (H.R. 5299) that would implement certain recommendations for patent reform.

Representatives from the FTC, the National Academies’ STEP Board, and the AIPLA will conduct the meetings, describe the various recommendations for patent reform, and moderate the audience-participation sessions. The sessions will include substantive discussion of several key reform proposals:

  • Best Practices: First Inventor to File, Publication, and Related Reforms;
  • Post-Grant Review;
  • Litigation Reform: Willfulness, Inequitable Conduct, and Best Mode; and
  • Shields to Infringement Liability: Prior User Rights and Experimental Use Exception.

The complete agenda, including schedules and a list of speakers is available on the FTC’s Web site at These details, as well as registration information, are available on the AIPLA’s Web site at

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