Senate Judiciary Gives Up on Comprehensive Patent Reform

With the writing on the wall for weeks now, today, the Senate Judiciary Committee officially pulled the plug on the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act. The Bill was ambitiously designed to carry the comprehensive changes of the Goodlatte Bill (passed by the House in late 2013 (H.R. 3309)) through the Senate. However, the drastic nature of some of those changes resulted in significant lobbying pressure from large stakeholders (e.g., universities and research driven industries such as Bio/Pharma). The intense lobbying interest, recent developments in the law, and criticism that the bill was overreaching, derailed all efforts to reach a consensus at the committee level.

Senator Leahy was optimistic in his statement (here) that there would still be an opportunity in 2014 for a further attempt at reform. But, practically speaking, only a tightly focused bill with widespread bipartisan support could make it through Congress in the remaining calendar year, that is— nothing comprehensive. At most, expect to see a push of narrowly tailored bills directed to abusive demand letter practices.