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News & Press: Public Policy Statements

Proposed Reform Aimed at Patent Trolls Tabled for Now

Friday, May 30, 2014  
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LES (USA & Canada) Public Policy Update

After passage of a House bill aimed at curbing abusive patent litigation tactics, and reports that an agreement on a corresponding Senate bill was imminent, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, officially tabled the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 (S. 1720) on May 21 citing "lack of support behind any comprehensive deal."

The Licensing Executives Society, (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc., has been a vocal member of a diverse coalition of IP-oriented companies, universities, and professional societies voicing grave concerns over the structure and scope of both the House and the Senate bills. LES has repeatedly voiced concerns over the very real threat of profound unintended and deleterious consequences for the US patent system, the economy, and jobs if either bill were to have been passed into law as written.

"This is a great development for US innovation," said LES (USA & Canada) Regional Vice President-USA Brian O'Shaughnessy. "We are pleased that our educational efforts helped legislators more fully appreciate the complexities of this issue. Legislative initiatives such as this demand thorough discussion and debate followed by careful deliberation. Our economy is ever more dependent on IP development, protection, and monetization. We simply cannot afford a rush to judgment. Given our role as the leading innovation economy in the world, the consequences are too great. The pause in legislative action occasioned by Senator Leahy's well-reasoned action will permit further discussion and more informed debate should the issue arise again in a subsequent Congress."

In a statement released by his office, Senator Leahy said "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. 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." Press Release

Mr. O'Shaughnessy adds that "LES looks forward to working with Senator Leahy, and other members of Congress and the Administration, on future patent legislation of any sort; and is eager to share its perspectives on the commercial role of IP in the innovation economy, and to assist in the development of prudent reforms that will strengthen the US patent system, further encourage innovation, and thereby improve the human condition."