Numerous business groups have complained to Congress in recent months about "patent trolls"—firms that use bogus patent infringement claims to extort settlements out of companies.
The "trolls" target companies creating new products, but they also go after small businesses using common technologies such as scanners or Wi-Fi networks. They often have no plans to make products of their own.
Many companies agree to settle because the cost of fighting the charges in court would be so high.
Goodlatte's draft legislation from May would limit the kinds of documents that firms could force their opponents to produce during the discovery phase of a trial, a major cost in patent litigation. The measure would allow the manufacturer of a product to intervene to block cases against its customers over alleged patent infringement and would make a series of changes to the Patent and Trademark Office aimed at helping small businesses participate in the office's decisions.
The lobbyists who attended Thursday's meeting said the new draft included more aggressive fee-shifting provisions.
Two lobbyists expressed disappointment that the draft does not allow businesses to petition the Patent Office to reconsider whether a technology patent is valid. That provision, which is intended to derail suits based on overly broad or unoriginal patents, is part of a separate patent troll bill from Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerDemocratic frustration with Sinema rises Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Guns Down America's leader says Biden 'has simply not done enough' on gun control MORE (D-N.Y.).
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised On The Money — Democrats tee up Senate spending battles with GOP MORE (D-Vt.) is working on his own patent troll legislation along with Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCawthorn, Lee introduce bills banning interstate travel vaccine mandate Retreating economy creates new hurdle for Democrats in 2022 McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' MORE (R-Utah).
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas) and Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) have also introduced bills on the issue. The White House announced a set of executive actions in June to address the problem.
Some Democrats, however, have expressed concern that some legislative proposals could stifle legitimate patent lawsuits and cut off access to the courts.