OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate 'patent troll' bill coming soon

Bipartisan senators on the Judiciary Committee are close to unveiling legislation to fight so-called patent trolls. 

Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Iowa Democrat drops bid to challenge Grassley after death of nephew Bipartisan senators press FBI, inspector general for changes following Nassar case MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters at the National Press Club that negotiators are "close to getting a final agreement," with his office later saying it could come as soon as this week. Another aide familiar with the talks said senators are close to a bill. 

The proposal is not expected to look like the House's Innovation Act but will include some of the same provisions. It will have provisions on discovery and pleading requirements that are less strict than the House version, according to Grassley.  


A major hangup for Democrats has been a provision related to fee shifting, or having the loser of an infringement lawsuit pay the winner's legal fees if the litigation was found to be frivolous. The Senate bill will not go as far as the House. While the Senate bill would give judges more latitude to award fees, it will not contain a fee shifting presumption. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMental health: The power of connecting requires the power of investing Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Cornyn says he 'would be surprised' if GOP tries to unseat Sinema in 2024 MORE (R-Texas) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Schumer mourns death of 'amazing' father MORE (D-N.Y.), who helped negotiate a compromise last year, have been working on the legislation, along with Grassley and the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). In a Monday tweet, Schumer said this "WILL be" the year patent reform gets done. 

DEMAND LETTERS IN THE HOUSE: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin marking up a targeted patent demand letter bill this week, with opening remarks coming Tuesday. The bill is separate from the House's comprehensive Innovation Act that does not go as far to address demand letters, which accuse recipients of infringing on patents. In the Senate, Grassley said the upper chamber's bill would address demand letters similar to the House because the issue "is a little less controversial."

GOOGLE WANTS TO BUY UP PATENTS: Google is angling to buy up patents from companies looking to sell in a new "Patent Purchase Promotion" that will start next month. The promotion will allow patent holders to set a price on patents they are willing to part with. Google will then decide which ones it wants to buy. The search giant is painting the experiment as one that could help keep patents out of the hands of so-called "patent trolls."

"Unfortunately, the usual patent marketplace can sometimes be challenging, especially for smaller participants who sometimes end up working with patent trolls. Then bad things happen, like lawsuits, lots of wasted effort, and generally bad karma. Rarely does this provide any meaningful benefit to the original patent owner," the company said in a blog post. 

SENATE SURVEILLANCE TALKS 'IN FLUX': Grassley said Senate negotiations on surveillance reform are still "in flux" as he continues conversations with the Intelligence Committee. He previously declined to go along with the House deal that is expected to be introduced this week. "So I think I'd have to say it's pretty much in flux at this point," Grassley told reporters. "But I am still seeing what we can do with a compromise between Judiciary and Intelligence."

NO TIMELINE ON CLINTON EMAILS: The State Department on Monday said it does not have "a timing announcement" on the public release of Hillary Clinton's emails from her time as secretary. State spokesman Jeff Rathke reiterated that the first batch of emails will include 900 pages which were already handed over to the select committee in the House investigating Benghazi. CNN on Monday reported the release could come as early as this week.

LEAHY MAKES COPYRIGHT PLEA AHEAD OF MARRIAGE ARGUMENTS: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is using both Tuesday's Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage and his love for the Grateful Dead to make a case about intellectual property. The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a Huffington Post op-ed over the weekend, criticized the "vestiges of discrimination" in the Copyright Act, which does not extend rights to spouses of creators whose marriages are not recognized in their state of residence. "As the Supreme Court recognized in striking down key portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, it is wrong for the federal government to deny benefits or privileges to couples who have lawfully wed," Leahy wrote. Earlier this year, he introduced legislation to change the law. "Artists are part of the creative lifeblood of our nation, and our laws should protect their families equally."

SHOULD PUBLIC HOUSING COVER WEB ACCESS?: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) thinks so. The lawmaker met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro last week to urge him to consider including Internet access in a proposed demonstration project to help put all Americans on equal footing when it comes to digital access. To close the digital divide, Cleaver says that public housing facilities should help to cover Internet service. 

IP COORDINATOR SWORN IN: Daniel Marti was scheduled to be ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on Monday to be the White House's intellectual property enforcement coordinator. The event was closed to press. 


At 9 a.m., The U.S. Telecom Association is hosting an event on increasing broadband investment and innovation at the National Press Club. 

At 10 a.m., The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host an event on domestic drone policy. 

At 5 p.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee will provide opening statements on the mark up of a patent demand letter bill. 


ESPN sued Verizon on Monday for offering slimmed-down versions of its cable TV offerings without first obtaining the sports network's permission.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is renewing his push to put cameras in the Supreme Court, as the justices prepare for oral arguments Tuesday on legalizing same-sex marriage.

A group of conservative and libertarian groups sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday opposing his proposal to reauthorize portions of the Patriot Act without attaching surveillance reform.  

Tech insiders are predicting a legal battle over legislative language aimed at tamping down on child prostitution included in a bill that unanimously passed the Senate last week. 

Amazon is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to loosen its proposed rules for commercial drones so the company can use the devices to deliver packages that weigh less than 55 pounds.


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