Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

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

reid 072 0601114 445x296 Postmortem on the Patent Troll Bill: Leahy Says Reid Killed It

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.

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