Public Knowledge Statement on Termination of Patent Reform Bill


Today, Senator Leahy issued a statement that the pending Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, S. 1720, would be removed from the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Though he acknowledged that “patent trolls abuse the current patent system” and that this was a “real problem facing Vermont and across the country,” he stated that “competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement” on provisions for the bill.

The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge:

“Abuse of patents has posed continuous and long-standing harm to consumers and technological development. Thus, meaningful patent reform is a keystone to protecting those consumers and that development.

“It is unfortunate that, after over a year of negotiations and discussions, the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act has been pulled from the docket. Although ‘companies on both sides of the issue’ could not come to agreement, the real loser here is the American consumer. Patent abuse raises costs on consumer products, keeps innovators from bringing products to market, and blocks all individuals from fully accessing the wealth of technology. Without the bipartisan, White House-supported, widely agreed-upon reforms that were pending before the Senate, consumers will continue to pay a tax for an outmoded, misused patent system.

“Efforts toward patent reform continue on more specific issues. Bills in both the Senate and the House of Representatives will approach the problem of abusive patent demand letters, which impose an unjustified tax on small, creative businesses and technology users. These related efforts are important, but cannot replace the comprehensive reform legislation that has now been withdrawn.

“We hope that Congress will again return to the pressing issue of reforming the patent system soon, and we will continue to work with policymakers on this.”

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