Tech CEOs press House leaders for patent vote

Major tech executives sent a letter to House leadership on Thursday pressing for passage of a patent litigation reform bill. 

Executives from companies like Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Yelp cautioned that a flawed patent system is one of the largest threats to their companies and said the House’s Innovation Act strikes a “reasonable compromise.”

{mosads}”While not silver bullets, these reforms help remove the factors that make the patent troll business model a no-risk, high-reward enterprise,” the executive wrote in the letter organized by the Internet Association. 

The letter comes a day after House leadership announced it was delaying a vote until at least after next week amid concerns from some lawmakers. The executives did not mention the delay, but said they hoped for a vote “this summer.”

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, signed the letter, as well as Kevin Ryan, who founded multiple companies. 

Chief executives signing the letter were Chad Dickerson of Etsy, Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, Ben Silbermann of Pinterest, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp, Stephen Kaufer of TripAdvisor, Taylor Rhodes of Rackspace and Michelle Peluso of Gilt. Twitter’s interim CEO Jack Dorsey later signed his name to the letter as well. 

Major technology companies have been behind a push for broad reform. The letter pointed to specific provisions in the bill aimed at reforming litigation tactics exploited by trolls, including ones to increase pleading standards, limit early discover, impose fee shifting provisions and limit venue shopping for friendly courts. 

The bill was originally scheduled for floor time this month, but it is unclear if it would be pushed past the August recess. Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who introduced the bill, said he would use the delay to try and grow support. 

Lobbyists for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry have expressed opposition to the bill. They are fighting to include a provision that would exempt some FDA-approved drug patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trail-like reviews, which were set up as a fast and low-cost way to challenge the validity of patents. 

The Biotechnology Industry Organization and PhRMA sent a letter to committee leaders Wednesday pressing for the carve-out. 

— Updated 4:05 p.m.

Tags Bob Goodlatte Patent reform Patent trolls

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