The Senate Judiciary Committee today overwhelmingly approved patent litigation reform, clearing a hurdle which proved insurmountable in the last Congress. This is a major milestone that demonstrates strong bipartisan, bicameral support for meaningful patent reform. It clears the way for the Senate to act.
The bill approved by Committee takes a major step toward restoring fairness and balance to our patent litigation system. It makes sure that patent assertion entities which bring objectively unreasonable lawsuits can be held to account for the costs they impose and makes sure they can’t hide behind shells to avoid that responsibility. It has meaningful discovery and heightened pleading provisions that will help avoid costly fishing expeditions; it helps stop abusive demand letters; and it includes provisions that protect the rights of universities and small inventors.
Like any bill, this legislation is not perfect. But we will work with Senators on and off the Judiciary Committee to refine the legislation as it moves to the floor, especially to assure that there continues to be an effective Inter Partes Review process to protect consumers and businesses from weak patents that should have never been granted in the first place.
Our great thanks go to Senators Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy, John Cornyn, Chuck Schumer, Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee and Amy Klobuchar, as well as all the members of the committee who ultimately supported the bill. This is a huge step in the right direction — one that at last opens the door to meaningful reform.