Obama's nominee not ready to endorse House 'patent troll' bill

President Obama's nominee to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is not ready to endorse legislation to rein in abusive patent litigation.


"I've said and it is the administration's position that we believe that there can and should be legislative reform," Michelle Lee said in an event at the Technology Policy Institute. "Now, I've also said too that we are living in a patent ecosystem that is extremely dynamic. There are lots of changes that are occurring all over the place."

Lee, who is currently leading the office, has endorsed the broad idea of congressional reform but has been silent on the specifics.

She cited a number of court cases, executive action and changes at the office that are having effects on the patent landscape.

Lee said stakeholders need to look at the provisions on an "issue by issue basis" but said the legislation raises an important conversation.

"And I think its really only prudent that we take a look at all the changes that are occurring in all the areas [to] determine to what extent, to what degree, they are either improving or not," she said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.) last week reintroduced his Innovation Act, which makes a number of changes to patent litigation procedures intended to stop “patent trolls” from bringing frivolous litigation with the hope of a payout. It overwhelmingly passed the House last Congress before reform stalled in the Senate.

The House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property is slated to hold a hearing Thursday on how recent Supreme Court cases have affected patent litigation. Some critics of reform partly credit the decisions for a decrease in litigation and a sign that legislative reform should wait.