Patrick Leahy.
Patrick Leahy. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi / NLJ.)

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday again postponed a vote on a patent litigation reform bill, as senators work out differences on several provisions.

Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said during a brief meeting that the committee’s members should have a bill ready by next week. “We have settled the vast majority of the issues in there,” Leahy said.

Staffs for Republicans and Democrats have worked on weekends and late evenings on language to the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, Leahy said. At issue are provisions on issues such as pleading requirements and shifting legal fees. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are handling much of the negotiations, according to lawyers closely following the bill.

Leahy in November introduced the measure with co-sponsors Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. The committee originally had hoped to move on the bill April 3. The push fell short before a two-week recess that ended Monday. Thursday was the committee’s first opportunity to move on the bill since then.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the top Republican on the committee, said Thursday that committee members have made progress on the bill.

The sooner the committee can advance the bill the more likely it will pass the full Senate this year, lawyers following the reform push say. The summer recess and the approach of the November elections are expected to slow down legislative activity on Capitol Hill.

Contact Todd Ruger at truger@alm.com. On Twitter: @ToddRuger.