State AGs lobby for Senate patent reform

State attorneys general are lobbying on the Senate to pass patent litigation reform.

In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees sent this week, 42 attorneys general expressed support for Congressional attempts to limit abuse of the patent litigation system and pushed for provisions that would give state consumer protection authorities more jurisdiction over "patent troll" activity — bringing or threatening to bring frivolous patent infringement lawsuits. Additionally, the state officials met with Senate staff Tuesday.


The push from state attorneys general comes as the Senate is considering a bill from Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyVermont high school girls' soccer team penalized for removing jerseys to reveal #EqualPay shirts Democrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' McConnell tees up government funding votes amid stalemate MORE (D-Vt.). Last year, the House passed the Innovation Act, authored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.).

In the letter, the attorneys general said they "recognize the importance of pending Congressional legislation on this issue" and "are generally supportive of structural federal patent litigation reform which would create an environment in which abusers of the patent enforcement system cannot thrive."

The group of state officials called on the Senate to include language that would explicity live state-level consumer protection authorities the ability to bring enforcement actions against patent trolls.

The letter also asked the Senate to require more transparency in and give state courts jurisdiction over demand letters, or the letters patent trolls sent that include deceptive threats of legal action.

"We look forward to working with you in the effort to deter the bad actors who are exploiting the system for undeserved gain," the attorneys general said.

According to a Judiciary aide, Leahy is currently working with others on his committee, including ranking member Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyState cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate MORE (R-Iowa) and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Succession at DHS up in the air as Trump set to nominate new head MORE (R-Texas), to incorporate other provisions into his base bill. Leahy expects to list the bill for Committee consideration soon, the aide said.