Technology

House Judiciary members want another patent hearing

Members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) this week, asking for another hearing on the topic of patent reform.

Goodlatte introduced a bill last month aimed at curbing “patent troll” lawsuits, or lawsuits that patent-holding companies bring based on broad patents in the hopes that defendants will settle rather than taking on the costs of a lawsuit.

During a hearing on Goodlatte’s bill last week, members of the committee called for caution.

{mosads}In a letter Thursday, a bipartisan group of eight House Judiciary Committee members — including ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) — asked Goodlatte to hold a second hearing on the bill.

“The impact of the proposed legislation will be profound,” the letter said, echoing calls for prudence some made at last week’s hearing on Goodlatte’s bill.

“Many Americans who will be affected by it — from individual inventors to federal judges to investors in the nation’s largest corporations to small businesses — continue to express strong opinions about its merits,” the group said.

The committee should “schedule another hearing in order to consider additional viewpoints before voting on legislation that will affect this vital part of the American economy,” the lawmakers wrote.

A House Judiciary aide defended the timeline of Goodlatte’s bill.

Goodlatte released two public discussion drafts of the bill and called for comments on those drafts over the last six months, the aide said. Additionally, the committee held a hearing where members “heard from four witnesses and … had the opportunity to ask questions,” the aide said.

“We continue to welcome additional comments and ideas from all interested parties including Members as we look toward moving this legislation.”

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