LAS VEGAS—On Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in a meeting room above the show floor, a panel of six tech industry actors hashed out their quite contentious views on patent reform in front of an audience.
Although this time last year it looked as if momentum was growing in Congress to pass rules that would crack down on patent abusers, 2014 ended disappointingly for the lawyers and lobbyists that were working to curb the frivolous claim letters made by patent holding companies. The popular bill that would have enabled those rule changes, called the Innovation Act, was killed by its own creator, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), in the eleventh hour after facing massive resistance from trial lawyer lobbies and pharmaceutical companies.
This year, the fervor of patent reformers is no less real, but the complications that the Innovation Act faced in Congress seems to have stilted some of the patent reform euphoria. In the discussion at CES on Tuesday, six panelists from many sides of the patent reform debate offered wildly differing views on how much, if any, reform is needed.
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