Is patent legislation dying in the Senate?

“Because there is not sufficient support behind any comprehensive deal, I am taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda.” - Senator Patrick Leahy

The Senate Judiciary Committee had been working hard to reach an agreement on changes to a bill aimed at reducing patent litigation brought by patent trolls. But last week, Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he is shelving a patent bill because the two sides could not compromise to prevent patent litigation abuse without punishing innovators.

"Because there is not sufficient support behind any comprehensive deal, I am taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda," Leahy said in a statement. "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.”

Senator Chuck Grassley said he was "surprised and disappointed." The decision to pull the bill also angered coalitions and trade groups that have been pressing for a legislative solution to abusive accusations of patent infringement. Critics of the bill said they were still open to a compromise that would tackle the troll issue without punishing innovators.

“This shows pretty clearly that addressing these issues is more complicated than many may have thought," Q. Todd Dickinson, director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, told the Chicago Tribune. "The key has always been to find the right balance: deal with truly abusive behavior, while making sure that real innovators can enforce their rights.”

Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Contributing Writer for InsideCounsel, where she covers the patent litigation space. Amanda earned a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from...

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