McCarthy: ‘More work’ needed before patent reform gets vote

Patent reform legislation is not on the House schedule for the remaining days before the August recess, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday. 

“I don’t have anything scheduled between then and now,” McCarthy said when asked whether the Innovation Act would be considered before the break. “I think there’s more work to be done on it.”

{mosads}Amid concern from lawmakers, leaders announced last week that consideration for the proposal would be delayed. Though observers saw it as unlikely, the announcement left open the possibility that the bill could still get a vote before month’s end. 

McCarthy gave little indication that a vote will happen soon, despite his July memo that placed the bill on the legislative calendar.

Mounting concerns from industry has put consideration of the bill, which overwhelmingly passed last Congress, up in the air. And a series of whip meetings about the bill last week did not go well, according to lawmakers opposing the legislation.

“Our recent listening sessions were part of a very open process we have undertaken with this bill and it is clear that some Members still have concerns with the bill,” Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the bill’s sponsor, said last week in announcing a delay. 

Large technology and retail companies have been pushing the legislation to reform some patent litigation practices that can be exploited by trolls. They have even fought to strengthen some provisions before it hits the floor. But there is opposition among the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, as well as universities and large patent licensors like Qualcomm. 

Lobbyists for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry 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. But some seniors groups have opposed that inclusion. 

Heritage Action, which is influential in the GOP conference, on Monday came out strongly against floor consideration, saying “rushed reform” would be unwise. 

“The House should give the system time to adjust to the 2011 reforms before moving forward on another set of transformational reforms,” the group’s director said in a statement. “Heritage Action opposes H.R. 9. The bill should not come to the floor.” 

The Senate is working on its own patent litigation reform bill, which passed out of committee with key differences to the House bill. Many critics of broad reform have found that bill more palatable. 

— Cristina Marcos contributed to this post.

Tags Innovation Act Kevin McCarthy Patent reform Patent trolls

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