Goodlatte predicts patent vote but offers no timeline

Greg Nash

House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteObama commutes sentences of 98 inmates The hidden controversy over online shopping Report: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas MORE (R-Va.) on Wednesday remained confident that his patent reform bill would get a floor vote soon, but failed to offer any concrete timeline. 

During an event sponsored by the Software and Information Industry Association, Goodlatte said he is focused on building momentum for his Innovation Act. 

"There is a lot going on particularly right now, but there will be opportunities to bring this legislation to the floor, and I believe it will come to the floor soon," he said.  

But the House bill aimed at curbing some litigation tactics exploited by so-called patent trolls hit a roadblock ahead of the August recess, when GOP leaders pulled it from the House calendar and said it needed more work. 

"I think the issue is making sure that the momentum stays strong," Goodlatte said. "There was a little bit of a delay there in moving this forward. I think a lot of members went home during the August recess and heard from a lot of people back home about how they were concerned about this not being addressed and they want to see it addressed." 

"And I think that's where we are at this point in time and we're looking forward to moving forward," he added. 

The bill has also seen increasing opposition from some influential conservative groups, like Heritage Act and the Club for Growth. 

It has hit resistance from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as well. They have argued they are facing their own sort of patent trolls who have attempted to short their stocks while challenging drug and bio patents through the trial-like reviews at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Reform has largely focused on the separate issue of patent litigation procedures in the court system, but biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries have called for Congress to tackle the separate issue involving the U.S. PTO reviews, which they argue skew too far against patent holders.

The Senate is working on a parallel bill in the upper chamber with some key difference, which has received much less resistance from skeptics of broad reform.