The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a comprehensive patent lawsuit reform bill on Wednesday that would change the way cases move through the federal courts.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), during a press conference on Capitol Hill also attended by representatives of the business community pushing for the bill, said his Innovation Act would close the gaps in the patent system that he blamed for abusive litigation.
“Together, we will ensure the days of those who engage in patent litigation extortion are numbered,” Goodlatte said. He is moving the bill quickly and scheduled a hearing before the full Judiciary Committee on Oct. 29.
Goodlatte said he filed the bill following an open process to craft the language, including work on two public drafts this year and input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The bill drew a good review from the White House, he said, and he is working closely with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has announced that he too is working on patent reform.
The Innovation Act is the latest of several patent reform bills already filed this session, but has as co-sponsors from both parties. That includes Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore), who co-introduced legislation earlier this year, as well as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who co-authored reforms of the patent system in 2011 with the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
“Without a doubt, this will be the single most important patent reform or high-tech bill this Congress considers,” Smith said during the press conference.
The bill targets abusive behavior but does not target specific entities, Goodlatte said. It would make it more difficult to file abusive lawsuits but would not weaken the overall patent system. It is not designed to discourage innovations by universities or inventors, he said.
The bill would raise the threshold for filing a patent infringement case; plaintiffs would have to identify the patents at issue and detail exactly how they are infringed, according to a breakdown of the bill provided by the committee staff.
The legislation would allow courts to join parties with interests in the patent in any case and allow judges to limit discovery pending claim construction.
Goodlatte’s bill would require the U.S. Judicial Conference to promulgate rules governing core document discovery and set up early case management conferences in district courts.
Contact Todd Ruger at email@example.com.