This comes after the Innovation Act won a 24-8 June vote in the House Judiciary Committee and appeared on track for a vote by the full House later this month. It seems that the vote was delayed after House leaders faced significant pressure from a coalition of interest groups that rely heavily on patents, including the life sciences industry, universities and research institutions, and an umbrella group of venture capital investors. (A similar measure, which suffered from numerous flaws that I previously analyzed, passed the chamber by an overwhelming 325-91 vote in December 2013 but never saw action in the Senate.)
Ultimately, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-A), the bill’s sponsor and champion, relented. “Our recent listening sessions were part of a very open process we have undertaken with this bill,” Goodlatte said in a statement, “and it is clear that some members still have concerns with the bill.”
Support for the bill seems to have receded, as 325 (the number of congressmen who endorsed the 2013 version of the bill) now looks like a high-water mark. “There were many, many members that were opposed to this bill that voted for it last year,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Y), a longtime foe of the measure, of a whip meeting that didn’t go well for the bill’s backers.
Two particular members, Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), stepped forward publicly last week to acknowledge their reversal. “This new legal landscape means that only a bill that is narrowly tailored to target abusive practices and does not adversely affect the rights of legitimate patent owners can be justified,” they wrote in a letter to their colleagues. “H.R. 9 does not meet that test.”
The delay seemed to have come as a surprise to some of the country’s largest computer technology companies, who had vigorously supported the Innovation Act and promptly pushed back.
Asserting that “the drain on our economy from patent troll activity is demonstrable,” the Internet Association urged the House leadership to move the Innovation Act forward. “The current system,” claimed the group, whose members include Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Yelp, and seven other companies, “incentivizes patent trolls to bring frivolous and costly lawsuits against productive businesses – both large and small.”
For now, it seems such requests have fallen on deaf ears, which means the action now turns to the Senate. This body of Congress has advanced the similar S. 1137, the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act (the PATENT Act), amidst heated negotiations between the same interest groups.
The PATENT Act won passage in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 16-4 vote, but it, too, has been the focus of a ferocious back-and-forth between various industries alternatively excited and repelled by its provisions. As I explained last month, one major dispute concerns quasi-judicial proceedings in the Patent Office created by the 2011 America Invents Act. Biotech and pharma companies would like to see limits on or exemptions from these proceedings for their own inventions, which have increasingly been subject to Patent Office challenges.
For the full story: http://www.techpolicydaily.com/technology/innovation-act-stalled-in-house/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=paramount&utm_campaign=cict#sthash.2ets4R8t.dpuf