Patent Troll Legislation Stuck in Fee-Shifting Debate


Patent reform legislation has garnered much national attention over the past year, as Congress has introduced numerous proposals to curb perceived litigation abuse by patent trolls. (See our previous alert here.) The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) in December, and the Senate appeared ready to move forward quickly by passing its own patent reform bill. Since then, however, several months have passed and the legislation has encountered a series of delays in the Senate.

The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S. 1720), which was introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last November, is the main Senate bill currently under consideration. The Judiciary Committee was scheduled to mark up and vote on the bill in early April, but those proceedings have been postponed four times over the past several weeks. Committee members are debating new language to address certain "contentious issues" raised in a proposal circulated by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) last week. We summarize and discuss these issues in more detail below.

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