Patent Reform Group Streamlines Lobbying Efforts

Patent Reform Group Streamlines Lobbying Efforts

After legislation to combat patent trolls stalled in the Senate, the Coalition for Patent Fairness, an advocacy group for Google Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and other technology companies, has winnowed down its roster of lobbying firms to one.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr last week followed Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock in notifying Congress that it’s no longer advocating for the association. The Franklin Square Group is the only firm still registered to lobby for the group.

Both Wilmer and Fierce Isakowitz noted in their lobbying termination reports that they stopped lobbying for the coalition this summer. The termination dates were July 18 for Wilmer and June 30 for Fierce Isakowitz.

Jonathan Yarowsky, the Wilmer partner who handled the account, declined to comment. Matt Tanielian, the association’s executive director and a cofounder of the Franklin Square Group, also declined to comment specifically on Wilmer’s lobbying termination.

But Tanielian said a natural “ebb and flow” of activity exists when it comes to coalition work. Although advocacy on patent litigation reform has cooled off, he said lobbying could pick up after the November elections. He added that his firm has no plans to stop its advocacy for the association.

“We are absolutely not going away,” Tanielian said of the coalition.

The organization spent $480,000 on federal lobbying during the first half of this year, congressional records show. Wilmer and Fierce Isakowitz each received $120,000 of that money, while Franklin Square Group got $240,000.

The group supports the Innovation Act, which is the U.S. House of Representatives’ plan to stop patent lawsuit abuses. The bill passed the chamber in December. The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, the Senate’s leading counterpart to the House measure, is still pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in May put the legislation on ice after disagreement about a path forward for the bill.

Tanielian said in a statement at the time that the association was “stunned and deeply disappointed” by the senator’s decision. But he added that patent trolls are “a problem that will be addressed.”

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