Patent Bill Reintroduced

February 11, 2015

pic-patent-licenseOn Feb. 5, 2015 House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), once again introduced the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) with a handful of bipartisan cosponsors. H.R. 9 is identical to the previous iteration of the bill which NSBA has opposed.

The Innovation Act, while it may stem reported increases in patent litigation stands to harm small inventors in a host of other ways. The proposal will make it more expensive and more difficult to obtain a patent and it will put enforcing a patent beyond the financial reach of most small inventors. Thus, there will be fewer patents made by America’s independent and small corporate inventors. Among the most corrosive proposals in the Innovation Act are: provisions limiting the scope of preliminary discovery, requiring more detailed information on patent ownership, and codifying the judicially-created doctrine of obviousness-type double patenting

Although the Innovation Act stalled in the Senate last year following swift passage in the House, the new Republican majority in the Senate likely clears some of the key hurdles the bill faced in the chamber during the 113th Congress, not to mention that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) cosponsored the patent bill in the Senate in the 113th Congress.

Additionally, President Barack Obama mentioned patent litigation reform as a priority in his State of the Union address and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) placed combating abusive patent litigation on his roadmap for the 114th Congress. Given this bipartisan support of dealing with patent litigation, this bill is seen as an area where Congress and the administration could forge some compromise.