Patent Reform Legislation to Live or Die Based on Senate Majority
For several years, intellectual property advocates have been pushing for patent reform legislation to curb the alarming number of lawsuits brought by patent trolls. However, in late May this push was stopped dead in its tracks as Senate Democrats abruptly pulled legislation from the Senate Judiciary committee. Reports suggest that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) killed the bill under pressure from trial lawyers who have contributed over $4 million to the majority leader since 2009.
The recent Alice Corp. v CLS Bank federal court decision earlier this year has had some effect in stemming the tide of patent trolls, by providing more additional protections to software patent holders and raising the bar for trolls. While the Alice decision has beensuccessful in fighting patent trolls, more needs to be done to protect innovative enterprise.
Last week, President Obama again made comments suggesting his support for reform. Despite making similar comments in the past, the President has done little to push for patent reform in the real world. Even if his commitment is genuine this time, it is unlikely that he will get the approval he needs from trial lawyers and Harry Reid.