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Issa takes top spot on Internet panel

After moving on from the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaChamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch Ex-RNC, Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy charged in covert lobbying scheme DCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program MORE (R-Calif.) will be the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Internet, Courts and Intellectual Property when Congress returns next year. 

The announcement on Thursday gives Issa a lower position of visibility than his previous post, which he has to give up due to Republican term limits on comittee chairmen.

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Yet the position should give Issa a strong hand when Congress looks to reform the nation’s patent laws, a top priority for the new year. Critics say that patent "trolls" buy up licenses and file sweeping lawsuits against companies in order to force them into expensive settlements. 

The chairmanship has personal appeal for Issa, who owns 37 patents himself and made millions leading a tech company that made car alarm systems before heading to Congress. 

“From starting his own business to being a patent owner, Chairman Issa brings real world experience to a vitally important subcommittee,” said Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association, after Issa's appointment came out on Thursday. Issa was the chairman of the tech industry trade group before entering Congress in 2000.

“A great leader like Chairman Issa is vital for the subcommittee responsible for protecting and promoting innovation, America's greatest asset,” Shapiro added.

From his perch atop the Oversight panel, Issa attracted attention for his combative personality, attacking various Obama administration initiatives, from the IRS’s extra scrutiny of conservative groups to the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation. The new position will likely leave Issa with fewer headlines, though it could put him in a prime position to delve into the weeds on intellectual property issues.