On August 27, 1982, President Reagan signed into law H.R. 6260^ a bill that authorizes arbitration of future and pending disputes over the validity and infringement of patents or patent rights. The bill also provides that such arbitrations, the awards, and their confirmation shall be governed by the U.S. Arbitration Act. The law took effect on February 27, 1983.
The award will have no impact on nonparties to the arbitration and may later be modified if a court from which no appeal can or has been taken finds that the patent is invalid or unenforceable. A notice of the award must be sent to the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks. The award is enforceable when the Commissioner receives the notice.
While certain aspects of patent disputes have always been arbitrable, courts have refused to permit arbitration of patent infringement and validity issues. This new law overrides decisions that inhibited widespread use of the arbitration process.