The legislative express train that has been patent reform reached top speed in the House of Representatives this afternoon, and its next scheduled stop will be the United States Senate. By a vote of 325-91, the House passed H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, a bipartisan bill advanced by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to curb abusive litigation by patent trolls. Make no mistake, today’s strong vote was the product of a collaborative effort by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, including Chairman Goodlatte, Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chair Howard Coble (R-NC), Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Tom Marino (R-PA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Much like the bipartisan vote by the House Judiciary Committee to approve the Innovation Act, today’s House vote to advance the bill to the Senate demonstrates the energy and support in Congress to tackle this growing and persistent problem. Every year, patent trolls use abusive lawsuits to extort billions from American businesses, large and small from coast to coast, siphoning much-needed money out of the US economy, stunting job growth and raising the costs of innovation.
While there are no confirmed dates for action in the Senate yet, there are certainly positive signs for reform in 2014. The strongest sign is the bipartisan bill introduced by Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), the “the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act.” We expect this bill to be the foundation for patent reform in the Senate, starting in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where a hearing on the bill is scheduled to occur on December 17, 2013. While there are still issues to be resolved and work to be done, ITI looks forward to keeping the patent reform train on the tracks and moving toward a final stop as a law that will be to the benefit of innovators, consumers, and the entire U.S. economy.