WASHINGTON (5/22/14)--Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a primary sponsor of a Senate patent reform bill, announced Wednesday that he is taking his bill off the voting agenda of his committee. The legislation would, in part, fight the patent law abuses of "trolls" that send questionable patent assertion letters to extract settlements from credit unions and other businesses.
In early April, Leahy sent out a notice to postpone a scheduled markup of the bill known as the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S. 1720), but made it clear that he wanted to move forward with a vote this spring. However, on Wednesday he said, "Because there is not sufficient support behind any comprehensive deal, I am taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda."
He added, "If the stakeholders are able to reach a more targeted agreement that focuses on the problem of patent trolls, there will be a path for passage this year and I will bring it immediately to the committee."
Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said in response to the announcement, "CUNA will continue to work with our partners in the Main Street Coalition and with others who share the view that patent troll abuses should be stopped, and we appreciate Chairman Leahy's willingness to take this issue up as soon as a path forward materializes."
Leahy has had CUNA's support for the demand-letter language within S. 1720, which would aid credit unions and other businesses that have been targeted with financial threats through the demand letters of the bad actors--the so-called patent "trolls."