Legislation

Leahy withdrawals patent troll legislation from committee consideration

Patrick Leahy

Patrick Leahy

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced on Wednesday the withdrawal of his bill—the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act—from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda, citing a lack of broad bipartisan agreement on how to reform patent laws.

“Unfortunately, there has been no agreement on how to combat the scourge of patent trolls on our economy without burdening the companies and universities who rely on the patent system every day to protect their inventions,” Leahy, the chairman of the committee, said. “I have said all along that we needed broad bipartisan support to get a bill through the Senate. Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal.”

The legislation seeks to address the growing problem of so-called patent trolls that profit by threatening and bringing frivolous patent infringement lawsuits. Leahy’s bill would have required a firm that files a suit alleging patent infringement to disclose all parties that have a financial interest in the outcome of the case.

Additionally, the legislation would have directed courts to award attorney’s fees and other expenses incurred to the accused party in a patent infringement case. The court would have also been able to grant a stay against a person accused of infringement while the manufacturer party to the patent suit litigates.

Leahy said he hopes Congress can return to the issue of patent trolls later this year.

“If the stakeholders are able to reach a more targeted agreement that focuses on the problem of patent trolls, there will be a path for passage this year and I will bring it immediately to the Committee,” Leahy said.

Last year, the House passed a related bill— the Innovation Act, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)—that would require firms alleging infringement to provide details related to the claim, principal business and authority of the party to assert a patent.

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