Congress Continues to See Need to Reduce Abusive Patent Litigation

I just watched a couple-month old Federalist Society Speech by House Judiciary Chair Goodlatte who offered his agenda for the committee over the next year, including further reforms to “reduce abusive patent litigation.”   Rep. Goodlatte’s prepared remarks on the topic are fairly short:

We’ll also work on reforms to discourage abusive patent litigation and keep U.S. patent laws up to date. Collectively, these reforms will help alleviate the wasteful burden of unnecessarily expensive litigation costs, thereby freeing small businesses to flourish, unleash innovation, and create new jobs for Americans.

Following his prepared statement, Chair Goodlatte expanded upon his approach:

Q: Can you give us a sense on Where the committee will go on patents?

A: We are definitely going to continue to pursue patent litigation reform.

Fortunately, the courts are also reviewing our patent laws particularly as they pertain to litigation. Some of the decisions they have made in recent years have had, what I think, is a positive impact on reducing the problem of patent trolling and making sure we have a system more reflective of incentivizing people to innovate; as opposed to attempting to profit from a false claim about a patent or a process whereby they threaten litigation which is extraordinary expensive in this field; and then say ‘well we’ll take 40 or 50 thousand dollars to settle.’ There was/is a big industry – I’m told a billion dollar plus industry to do that [i.e. patent trolling].

One of the issues the Court recently agreed to take is with regard to the issue of venue. . . In the legislation we introduced in the past Congress, we added venue reform to that, and we look looking to see what the court does, which may inform some of our work.  We are also looking at a number of other areas and reaching out to people affected by this.

[Our goal is to] both make sure litigation process is fair ,it is not abused, but also make sure that creative works, inventions, are protected, whether the inventor is large or small.

The approach here is that patent litigation reform is being linked with civil litigation reform generally – and Republican control suggests making it more difficult to bring claims.   Recognize that a number of influential parties, including IPO, have called for reforms to strengthen patent rights – so far that is getting no traction among Republican leadership.


14 thoughts on “Congress Continues to See Need to Reduce Abusive Patent Litigation

  1. 5

    Wonder if they pass a quick repeal of the AIA without a CBO score or how many people will lose their health insur… err, patents.

  2. 4

    Chair Goodlatte

    Top Campaign and PAC contributions (that we know of):
    1. Citicorp
    2. Google
    3. Facebook.

    This blog is losing more and more of its credibility. There are many articles in the popular press about Google’s undue influence on IP and DC politics. More lobbying money spent than any other “person” than Goldman and more visits to the WH than anyone.

    Let’s call him by his right name: Mr. Google Bucks Goodlatte.

    1. 4.3

      Dennis, a better title might be, “Silicon Valley Continues to See Need to Reduce Patent Litigation from Competitors and Victimized Inventors”

  3. 3

    The “billion dollar plus industry” line has been so thoroughly debunked as to make the statement by Goodlatte immediately suspect.

    One of his staffers really should break that news to him gently.

    (or maybe, this is one of those “alt-facts” that no one is going to pay attention to anyway… 😉 )

    1. 3.1

      I would be interested to read more about said debunking, if you have a study in mind.

      1. 3.1.1

        I do not have a link, but Ron Katznelson thoroughly dismantled the sham academic’s number awhile back.

        He was not the only one to do so, but as I recall, the thoroughness left no doubt as to crockery that the number of “Billions” is.

    2. 3.2

      Agreed. Many of these policy constructs need to start with swallowing the ‘big lie’ such as ‘patents stifle innovation.’ As we all know, the real world counterpoint to Goodlattes ‘harming small business’ is the harm the very big businesses do to small business under the current efficient infringement paradigm.

      1. 3.2.1

        To me it’s all caught up in the same trade issues, and the many whoppers about any US tariff is going to put us in the new great depressions. Total bunk.

  4. 2

    “and Republican control suggests making it more difficult to bring claims.”

    Dennis, the problem is that infringement claims are becoming more difficult to bring regardless of which party is in control.

    A handful of very large, very rich, multi-national companies decided that respecting patent rights and avoiding infringement was inconvenient and negatively impacted their profits. Thus, they embarked on a lengthy, multi-million dollar PR and lobbying effort aimed at weakening patent rights in the USA, and they have been quite successful.

    Our elected representatives (and, sadly, many judges) believed everything they were told by the Serial Infringer’s lobbyists, and they still haven’t realized the harm they have done to the patent system.

    There are over one million “C” corporations in the USA. Why should three or four multi-national, Serial Infringers be allowed to manipulate the patent system to suit their own interests?

    1. 2.1

      I would like to bring to your attention Chinese Patent No. 203633560.

      1. 2.1.1


        Now that there’s funny. I don’t care who y’are.

        Temporary serious aside: I thought even utility models in China required at least bare novelty?

  5. 1

    While the populist and the deplorable of the Republicans distain all that is “intellectual”, the naïve and the militant of the Democrats denounce all “property”.

    Let’s all watch the ice cube of “Intellectual property” in this fiery hell…

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