A bill that was supposed to address the problems associated with “patent trolls” has been scrapped by the U.S. Senate.
Senators have found there is wide disagreement on how to define patent trolls, with concerns for universities, garage inventors and businesses that may want to hold onto technology for a while.
In general, patent trolls are best known for filing frivolous patent infringement lawsuits.
“Unfortunately, there has been no agreement on how to combat the scourge of patent trolls on our economy without burdening the companies and universities who rely on the patent system every day to protect their inventions,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), said in a recent statement. “We have heard repeated concerns that the House-passed bill went beyond the scope of addressing patent trolls, and would have severe unintended consequences on legitimate patent holders who employ thousands of Americans.”
Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says “broad bipartisan support” is needed on the issue to get a bill approved in the Senate.
“Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal,” he added. “Because there is not sufficient support behind any comprehensive deal, I am taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda. If the stakeholders are able to reach a more targeted agreement that focuses on the problem of patent trolls, there will be a path for passage this year and I will bring it immediately to the Committee.”
Over recent weeks, Leahy said compromise was possible on the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act. But The Hill reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will not bring the bill to the entire Senate for a vote because of opposition from the pharmaceutical sector and from trial lawyers.
The House passed a patent reform bill, called the Innovation Act, last year. “It is extremely disappointing to hear that the Senate has once again delayed action on legislation to combat the ever increasing problem of abusive patent litigation," Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R, Va.) said in a statement.