Judiciary chairman expects quick action on patent reform

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By requiring more transparency for the companies bringing the lawsuits and limiting the litigation burdens on the companies being sued, the bill targets abusive behavior rather than certain entities or legitimate patent claims, he said.

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) are both cosponsors of the Innovation Act. Earlier this year, the two introduced a bill similarly aimed at curbing abusive patent litigation.

Chaffetz and DeFazio praised the Innovation Act, saying it is superior to their own bill. 

“This is a much more comprehensive and a much better bill,” Chaffetz said. “I look forward to seeing it become law.”

Other cosponsors include Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), George Holding (R-N.C.), Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Howard Coble (R-N.C.).

Goodlatte is optimistic about a companion effort in the Senate being led by Leahy. Goodlatte said he is “working closely with Sen. Leahy on this issue” and expects that, “when it gets to the Senate, we will have a collaborative effort over there as well.”

Additionally, the White House is “very close to being on the same page as us” when it comes to patent reform, Goodlatte said.

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the topic of patent reform Tuesday, and Goodlatte said he will get more specific with the timeline for his bill after the hearing.

“Our objectives are ambitious,” he said. “We would like to move soon.”

Goodlatte responded to criticism that his bill attempts to override the constitutional balance of the legislative and judicial branches by telling the courts how to handle patent cases.

“The Constitution is very clear about the role of the legislative branch in writing the rules of the road” for the court system, he said, pledging to weigh input from judges who handle patent cases.

“It’s important that we listen to the judges who handle these cases,” he said. “And we will take that criticism to heart.”

Smith — formerly the House Judiciary Chairman and currently the Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology — said the Innovation Act is “the single most important patent reform or high tech bill this Congress considers.”