On April 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 5819, a bill that would again permit biotechnology companies that are majority backed by venture capital firms to compete for federal Small Business Innovation Research grants.
On April 1, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia struck down controversial continuation and claims rules that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) attempted to implement last year. PTO had drafted the new rules to speed up the patent examination process. Industry critics of the rules say they could have reduced the ability of
medical device companies to obtain commercially significant patent coverage for their inventions.
Representatives Peter DeFazio (DOR) and Pete Stark (DCA) have
introduced a companion bill to the Senate's Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Both bills (HR 5605 and S 2029) would require drug and device manufacturers to file quarterly reports listing all physician payments and gifts with a value of $25 or more.