Goodlatte defends patent reform bill

House Judiciary Comittee Chairman Bob Goodlate (R-Va.) defended his recently introduced patent reform bill against the criticism it received on Thursday.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, Goodlatte addressed dueling complaints that his bill does too much and too little to fight overly broad patents.

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Patent reform advocates argue that software patents should be susceptible to the same kind of review at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that financial service patents are susceptible to under the America Invents Act. 

Pro-patent groups say opening up software patents to further review would weaken intellectual property protections.

“There are some that would like to take” the patent review process and “apply it to every business method patent that is out there,” he said. “There are others who like us to reel that back in.”

Rather than taking either approach, “we have actually been very careful” and attempted to solidify what’s already happening at the USPTO, Goodlatte said. “What we have basically done is take the operating procedures being followed by the Patent Office and the court system and codify those.”

Goodlatte also addressed calls for Congress to take on reform of the International Trade Commission (ITC), which plays a major role in patent enforcement.

In a statement on Wednesday applauding Goodlatte for introducing his bill, the ITC Working Group — hich includes Apple, Google and Intel — said Congress should work on reforming the ITC.

“Patent trolls are increasingly using the ITC as a parallel, and sometimes primary, venue for going after businesses operating in the U.S.,” the group said. 

“To effectively stem the tide of patent abuse, Congress must address the abuse that is taking place both in the courts and at the ITC.”

Goodlatte said Thursday that the ITC is “not primarily the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary Committee” so he is “approaching that with a light touch.”

“We very much agree that the ITC involvement in protecting intellectual property needs to be examined,” Goodlatte said, and he is “very open to collaborating with the Ways and Means Committee.”