Stagnant Patent Reform Bills More Appealing in Lame Duck Session

While early 2015 generated a number of competing “patent reform” bills in both the House and Senate, all have long since lost traction. The House Bill was pulled given the widening rift between Senate and House bills, and as a result of intense lobbying. Not much has happened on the legislative front since late summer 2015.

When questioned about the prospect of reform for 2016, The Hill reports that House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said that “timing is everything” for getting patent reform through the lower chamber.   The Chairman explained that the House Bill “was pulled from the floor to examine the appropriate time to do this and to have ongoing discussions with some of the folks that had concerns about various issues. And we believe the overwhelming support from the Congress is the reason to bring it to the floor. And to bring it to the floor at a time when the leadership will be looking for a bipartisan bill.”

Of course, the current House Bill will need to be rewritten/synced with the Senate Bill for any realistic chance of success in 2016. How much the current proposals will need to be watered down from present form is anyone’s guess. The Chairman’s statement: “leadership will be looking for a bipartisan bill,” interpreted, means Congress will want to show something for the lame duck session at some point.  If that happens, there might be enough political desperation to refocus again on patent reform.  Since patent reform isn’t sexy enough to sell to the average voter, you can bet that any such effort will be trumpeted as a “jobs bill“— much like the America Invents Act was in 2011.  That is, unless some other piece of legislation comes along sooner, and is an easier sell.