Patent system changes in the works?

It doesn't take the intellect of a US Senator to notice that there's something wrong with our patent system, but it looks like those Senators might finally do something about it. Nothing has even made it out of committee yet, so the actual passage of a patent reform bill still seems quite far off, but there is definite talk going on in Washington as to what patent reform would look like, and there seems to be enough common ground for some good to come of it. The leaders of an intellectual property panel within the Senate's Judiciary Committee had a hearing Tuesday to discuss ideas for new patent legislation, and it was well attended by panelists from tech, pharmaceutical, biotech, independent inventors, academics, and finance. There was plenty to say, and it seems most agree that there needs to be a new system to allow challenges to patents shortly after they're approved in order to avoid costly litigation later on. Tech and financial service companies are also pulling for a second "window" to allow them to dispute patents once a patent infringement suit is filed, something that would've probably aided RIM in their recent fight. Not everyone else is so hot about this idea, so we'll see if this makes it into the final legislation, but it seems any action towards reform would be helpful at this point, so we'll take what we can get.