Today, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced a new version of the Innovation Act, a bill designed to curb so-called patent trolls. Patent trolls have no business beyond acquiring patents and suing other companies, knowing that many will pay a settlement rather than pay the $1 million or more it can cost to fight a patent through trial.
The new Innovation Act is largely identical to legislation of the same name introduced to the House of Representatives by Rep. Goodlatte almost a year and a half ago. That bill had bipartisan support and a surprisingly good chance of bringing real patent reform to the US. It flew through the House easily, passing 395 to 91, and while it looked like such a popular bill would have an easy time clearing the Senate, the first Innovation Act had no such luck. Instead, it was killed in a quick and surprising statement made by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Sources later indicated that Sen. Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was the major driver behind the death of the bill.
Of course, this time around, Sen. Reid won’t be able to kill the bill. This January marked the inauguration of the 114th US Congress, which has a Republican-controlled Senate, so Goodlatte’s new Innovation Act may have better prospects when (and if) it hits the Senate.
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