Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Postmortem on the ‘Patent Troll’ Bill: Leahy Says Reid Killed It

Student Loans

Reid (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy abruptly shelved legislation targeted at companies that file abusive patent infringement lawsuits back in May, the Vermont Democrat said it was because of a lack of consensus from stakeholders. But in an an interview with a home-state newspaper Leahy said he was “furious” that  Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively shelved the bill.

“We worked so hard to get a coalition,” the Burlington Free Press recently quotes Leahy as saying.  “Harry Reid and a couple of others said, ‘We won’t let it come to the floor.’ I think that’s wrong, but I’m not going to give up.”

CQ Roll Call’s John Gramlich writes:

Leahy, D-Vt., abruptly dropped the measure (S 1720) from the Judiciary Committee’s agenda in May after months of closed-door negotiations with Republicans. At the time, Leahy said he was dropping the bill because outside stakeholders — including software companies and the pharmaceutical industry — could not agree on key language ahead of a scheduled markup.

In the newspaper interview, however, Leahy said he dropped the bill because Reid, D-Nev., and other Senate leaders told him it would not receive a floor vote if it ever got out of the committee. Leahy said Reid apparently based his decision on a calculation that compromise language in a draft version of the bill would face a filibuster by members of both parties.

A spokesman for Reid did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Gramlich wrote.

In other happenings in “patent troll” legislation,  a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is set to begin consideration Wednesday of a narrow bill targeting false or misleading demand letters. The panel will take opening statements Wednesday and mark up the bill Thursday.

  • Deepak Into

    Reinvigorating liberty is now critical so that centralization does not destroy the freedom that made most of our prior advance possible.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...