Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, warned on Wednesday he might wait until next year to take action on patent litigation reform if a Senate bill isn’t strong enough. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ.)
The Senate Judiciary Committee continues to struggle to find a compromise on patent litigation reform, while a key House lawmaker on the issue warned he might wait until next year to take action if a Senate bill isn’t strong enough.
The committee on Thursday postponed consideration of the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act. Some of the bill’s provisions have been the subject of behind-the-scenes negotiations among committee members for more than a month.
In a cramped side room off the Senate floor, the committee met only briefly to advance four district court nominees from Florida. Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who has previously used similar business meetings to describe the progress being made on the patent bill, this time did not mention the patent bill that was on the agenda.
On Wednesday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, urged a group of businesses to help ramp up pressure for litigation reforms that “are being hotly debated.”
Goodlatte, author of The Innovation Act, a patent litigation reform bill that passed the House last year with bipartisan support, told Baker & Hostetler’s 25th Annual Legislative Summit on Wednesday he is working closely with the Senate.
“We have still have a ways to go and we have let the Senate know that if they pass a strong bill we’re anxious to sit down with them and work out the differences, because we know the president of the United States is ready with that pen,” Goodlatte said.
“However, if they pass a weak bill that leaves the same things on the cutting room floor that were left on that same floor with the America Invents Act, we have said we’re not prepared to take a weak bill and we are prepared to work with the next Senate, which we think might be a very different environment,” Goodlatte said.
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.
Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are handling much of the negotiations, according to Goodlatte and 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. Thursday was the committee’s second opportunity to move on the bill since then.