Patent News

Feb. 5, 2015

The Wall Street Journal: Patent Reform Bill Arises Again in Congress, by Ashby Jones

This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on February 5, 2015.

If at first you don’t succeed, reintroduce the same bill in the next Congress.

That seems to be the tack taken by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), who on Thursday introduced the Innovation Act, a bill designed to curb perceived patent-litigation abuses.

It’s the second time the bill has been introduced. In 2013, Rep. Goodlatte sent up the same bill. It passed the House by a 325-91 margin, but hit a roadblock in the Senate May, and was pulled by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.). Sen. Leahy later said that he pulled the bill at the behest of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who thought the bill would get filibustered by members of both parties.


Others, however, wonder if so dramatic a measure is necessary. A host of biotech companies and others — including Qualcomm Inc., Merck & Co., and Monsanto Co. — object to the bill, claiming recent other measures have adequately reined in the worst litigation abuses. The coalition is referring to recent Supreme Court cases, as well as provisions in the America Invents Act of 2011, that tightened the rules on patent plaintiffs.

They write: “As a result of these developments, we are even more concerned that some of the measures under consideration over the past year go far beyond what is necessary or desirable to combat abusive litigation. Indeed, new patent lawsuit filings already have dropped dramatically – 40 percent, year over year, from September 2013 to 2014.”