Earlier today Representative Goodlatte re-introduced the patent reform bill that passed the House overwhelmingly in December 2013. The Innovation Act aims to curb abusive patent litigation and includes provisions that will have a significant impact on all patent litigation (not just actions brought by so-called “patent trolls”).
Like last time, both Republicans and Democrats support the bill. Interestingly, the bill ultimately stalled in the Senate because, according to Sen. Patrick Leahy, it would have been filibustered by members of both political parties. So it will be fascinating to see how the bill fares in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said last week that congress is eager to get reform passed this session.
If history is any guide, any patent reform measure that hopes to make it through the Senate will need to strike a fair balance between the goal of stopping abusive patent litigation and allowing patent owners to assert their patents in legitimate cases. Over the coming weeks, we will examine the provisions of the Innovation Act and suggest a few changes that might help get patent reform over the finish line.