Patent News

Feb. 5, 2015

Legal Newsline: Goodlatte patent reform bill re-introduced in U.S. House, by Jessica M. Karmasek

This post originally appeared in Legal Newsline on February 5, 2015.

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – On Thursday, U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, joined by other federal lawmakers, re-introduced the Innovation Act — the same patent reform legislation that passed in 2013.

Goodlatte, R-Va., was joined by U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.; Lamar Smith, R-Texas; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; and Ann Eshoo, D-Calif.


Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University and founder and senior scholar at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, said Thursday the legislation “weakens” and “devalues” the patents of inventors.

“It broadly revises the entire American patent system by creating unprecedented hurdles for all owners of patented innovation who seek redress in court against infringers of their property rights,” he explained.

“Thus, this bill will directly hurt the very people and institutions who most rely on patents to secure their new innovation: the individual inventors, universities, startups, and small businesses across the country who are the drivers of American innovation.”

Mossoff said Congress should tread very carefully before making such “massive” changes to the patent system.

“Instead, changes should be incremental and targeted, like the TROL Act of 2014, which was never even voted on last year,” he said, referring to the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act.

“Unfortunately, the Innovation Act does not tread carefully. It goes far beyond what is necessary to achieve the stated goal of addressing abusive patent litigation.”

He continued, “There are clear winners and losers here, and the losers are the American innovators that form the bedrock of the innovation economy.”

The National Venture Capital Association issued its own statement Thursday in response to the bill’s introduction:

“We appreciate Chairman Goodlatte and his colleagues for reintroducing the Innovation Act and believe it includes several helpful provisions to curb abuses in patent litigation. However, as was the case when the bill passed the House during the last Congress, we have concerns with certain provisions in the bill which we believe would make patent enforcement so risky and expensive that it could dry up innovation in certain sectors,” President and CEO Bobby Franklin said.