Senate primed to act on ‘patent trolls’ in 2015

Legislation to block "patent trolls” will be one of the first issues the Senate takes up next year, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican said on Thursday.

Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynArk., Texas senators put cheese dip vs. queso to the test Senate Dems: Don't link Mattis nomination to funding fight Senate GOP: National museum should include Clarence Thomas MORE (R-Texas) told reporters that lawmakers are “absolutely” going to pass a bill next year when Republicans take control.

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“We’re going to get it done,” he said off the Senate floor.

Companies accuse the trolls of filing vague, meritless patent infringement lawsuits in order to win costly legal settlements.

Cornyn was a key player this year during heated negotiations on the issue, as lawmakers weigh requiring those bringing the lawsuits to disclose more details about their claims, among other measures.

He worked with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to hammer out compromise language that began to attract lawmakers’ interest, but the process was shut down once Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled it would not advance to the full chamber.

The bill he and Schumer worked on would be the starting point for next year, Cornyn said. 

“I think we pretty much have a product that I would be happy with,” he said.

Lawmakers will try and move forward “early next year," he said, “first quarter at least.”

The White House has signaled support for a bill to beat back the trolls, and it is one of the few ideas that seems to have nearly universal support heading into next year's GOP-controlled Congress.

“This is an area where the White House agrees with Democrats and Republicans and still we weren’t able to get it done,” Cornyn said. “To me, that’s symbolic of the dysfunction that we’ve seen, and we’re determined to change that.”