Sen. Leahy delays action on patent reform bill

Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday postponed a markup on a patent reform bill until after the spring recess, as lawmakers finalize a compromise version of the bill.

It's the fourth time the Judiciary panel has delayed action on the patent bill.

In a statement, Leahy said he and other committee members have reached bipartisan agreement but are still working on specific provisions. Leahy he said he will introduce an updated version of his bill later this month, when the Senate comes back from a two-week recess.

The legislation, authored by Leahy and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), takes aim at “patent trolls” that profit by bringing and threatening patent infringement lawsuits.

Over the past two weeks, Leahy has postponed his committee’s consideration of the bill three times while he and Lee worked with Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) over contentious provisions.

Specifically, negotiations have focused on “fee-shifting” provisions, which would require the losing party of an unreasonable patent infringement lawsuit to pay the winning party’s fees.

"We have made enormous progress, and we now have a broad bipartisan agreement in principle," Leahy said. "This is a complex issue, and we need additional time to draft the important provisions that have been the subject of discussion."

"I will circulate a manager’s package the day we return from recess, and the Judiciary Committee will consider that legislation the first week we are back.”

In a statement, Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said committee members "have a tentative agreement in principle."

"Judiciary Committee members on both sides of the aisle have been working in good faith to reach an agreement," he said. "It’s a time-consuming and challenging process that will result in a much better product."