[JURIST] Industry leaders including Microsoft and Oracle spoke out on Monday about the need to reform US patent law to curb abusive litigation and protect technological development. The Senate Judiciary Committee [official site] plans to meet later today to discuss patent reform, with Segway inventor Dean Kamen, and lawyers for Intel and Micron Technologies to give testimony [official hearing notice and witness list]. In an address to Congressional staffers organized by the Association for Competitive Technology [official site], the companies stated that the law should be reformed to make it easier to challenge patents after they are issued. Microsoft has become a strong critic of the patent system, which causes it to spend $100 million a year defending itself against 35 to 40 lawsuits at any one time. A jury recently awarded Eolas Technologies $565 million in damages--which has been partially reversed [Federal Circuit opinion, PDF]--in a patent dispute over Internet Explorer. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also backing patent reform. Additional avenues for review and opposition will help to filter out "bad patents," said the Chamber's intellectual property director, Brad Huther. Huther added that Congress will take its time in reforming the patent laws. "This is not a problem that's going to be solved in a matter of years." CNET has more.