Caution Urged by Members of House Judiciary Committee

With two previous working drafts circulated in the House of Representatives, the proposals of the Goodlatte Bill were thought to be thoroughly “baked in” from a legislative perspective. However recent commentary from the judiciary on the proposed district court pleading/procedural changes, taken together with the very limited history of the America Invents Act changes, has led some to urge caution on further reforms. Although the House Judiciary Committee has already conducted a hearing on the Bill to determine the need for mark-up, a number of committee members are now urging a second hearing to address growing concerns.

The Hill reports that a bipartisan group of committee members, including ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) sent a letter to Chairman Goodlatte seeking a second hearing on the Bill. The letter is reported to explain that:

“The impact of the proposed legislation will be profound. . . . .many Americans who will be affected by it — from individual inventors to federal judges to investors in the nation’s largest corporations to small businesses — continue to express strong opinions about its merits” . . . . .the committee should “schedule another hearing in order to consider additional viewpoints before voting on legislation that will affect this vital part of the American economy”

With a sizable contingent of the House Judiciary committee throwing up a procedural road block this late in the game, there would seem to be little time left in 2013 to advance the effort further. Indeed, as it appears that the Senate is poised to follow the Goodlatte mark-up with a companion bill (to avoid conference), it would seem that delaying the mark-up will stall further progress for the remainder of 2013.