House Moves on Patent Litigation Reform Bill

December 4, 2013

pic-tech-worldOn Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up the NSBA-opposed Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), a bipartisan bill recently introduced by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R – Va.) and approved by the full House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 33-5 that seeks to address the purported increase in patent infringement litigation. The Innovation Act, which has gone through a series of revisions and addresses a number of issues ranging from heightened pleading requirements and fee shifting to discovery reform and increased transparency of patent ownership, has been a very controversial measure since its inception.

This controversy is primarily due to the fact that the bill includes several provisions that would reform our constitutionally-based patent system and the patent litigation process, and because it has moved through the House of Representatives so quickly (and so soon after the passage of the NSBA-opposed America Invents Act (AIA)). Despite the aforementioned revisions, NSBA believes that additional amendments are necessary to ensure that this bill does not inhibit economic growth and impede small business’s ability to prosper and create jobs.

Earlier this year, NSBA signed on to a letter urging Members of Congress to exercise extreme caution in proceeding with any legislation that has the potential to further weaken our patent system and requesting targeted hearings on the relevant issues with testimony from a number of key stakeholders including small businesses. Unfortunately, the House Judiciary Committee held only one hearing on the actual legislation prior to it being marked up at which no small businesses or individual inventors testified.

While supportive of reasonable efforts and reforms to ensure that small businesses are not unnecessarily burdened by undue or unwarranted patent infringement actions, NSBA believes that any legislation that is designed to reform our patent system or the patent litigation process must adequately consider and address the concerns of the small-business community, including the potential negative impact that this legislation may have on individual inventors, technology startups and small innovative companies. Accordingly, given the need for further revisions and the speed at which this legislation has moved through the House of Representatives, NSBA opposes the bill as currently written and urges Members to carefully consider the potential impact that the included provisions could have on America’s individual inventors and small business community.

Please click here to view NSBA’s most recent letter in opposition to the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309).

NSBA is urging all small businesses to take a few moments today and call their Representative, urging their opposition to this bill. Click here for details.

Also, if you are on Twitter, please join the conversation #stoppatenttrolls and tweet at your Representative, urging them to vote no on the #InnovationAct.