House chairman pledges patent reform early in new Congress

Lawmakers are planning to work together to get a new patent law sent to President Obama’s desk “in the near future,” the head of the House Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) committed to working with Senate leaders to move forward on a bill during a Chamber of Commerce summit on intellectual property.

{mosads}“Fortunately, voters earlier this month made it clear that they are more interested in results than the latest filibuster,” he said.

“I look forward to working with incoming [Senate Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley [R-Iowa] and Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] to see patent legislation signed into law in the near future.”

Goodlatte also pledged to move forward with an update to the nation’s copyright laws in order to protect musicians, filmmakers and others from having their intellectual property stolen online.

All year, his committee has been reviewing current copyright law “to ensure that copyright is still working in the 21st Century to reward creativity and protect the rights of authors, artists, and creators,” he said.

Current law has “some obvious issues,” Goodlatte said, though he refrained from making firm commitments about future plans to update the law.

The remarks were greeted warmly by trade groups such as BSA | The Software Alliance, which is looking for legislation to beat back patent “trolls” that companies claim bog them down with harassing lawsuits claiming their rights have been infringed.

“There is clear, bipartisan consensus that action needs to be taken to curb patent litigation abuses while safeguarding incentives for innovation,” said trade group CEO Victoria Espinel said in a statement on Tuesday.

Patent reform is expected to come up in Congress early in 2015, after an effort died this year despite bipartisan backing.

The House passed Goodlatte’s Innovation Act in 2013, but the effort stalled in the Senate amid pushback from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). 

Tags Bob Goodlatte Patent Patent reform

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