The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to pass its sweeping patent reform legislation, the Innovation Act.
The bipartisan bill, which aims to curb abusive patent litigation brought by so-called patent trolls, passed by a vote of 24-8.
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who introduced the legislation in April, said in a statement that the Innovation Act would take the “necessary steps to address abusive patent litigation while protecting legitimate property rights.”
“Specifically, the legislation targets abusive behavior rather than specific entities, preserves valid patent enforcement tools, preserves patent property rights, promotes invention by independents and small businesses, and strengthens the overall patent system.”
Some conservatives say the legislation is too broad and infringes on patent holders’ property rights by changing judicial rules that could make it harder for small innovators to defend their patents.
“The Innovation Act, like its Senate counterpart the Patent Act, is another big government overhaul that would undermine our patent system and reward a few large, multinational tech giants — such as Google — who seek to weaken the intellectual property rights found in our Constitution,” said Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state and current board member of Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers Union.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed its own reform bill, the Patent Act, last week.
“The Innovation Act is supported by a wide range of groups that include stakeholders from all areas of our economy representing businesses of all kinds from every corner of our country including independent inventors and innovators,” Mr. Goodlatte said.
The bill will now make its way to the House floor for a full vote.
President Obama has expressed support for patent reform, and it is likely that one of the bills will become law by the end of the year.