US patent bill gains opposition

US patent litigation adjustment bill HR9 passes its House Judiciary Committee markup but gains opposition from the National Venture Capital Association.

The US National Venture Capital Association has announced its opposition to HR9, the Innovation Act of 2015, that has just completed its House Judiciary Committee markup.

HR9 was introduced to congress on 2 May 2015 and sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte. The bill was cosponsored by both Republican and Democrats almost equally with 15 Republican cosponsors to 12 Democratic ones.

The bill seeks to amend the way in which patent infringement is dealt with in the United States covering what information is needed to file civil action to how fees and expenses relating to the lawsuit are handled.

However the National Venture Capital Association, following the latest markup stage of the bill, have announced they cannot support it in its current form.

Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association, said: “While we appreciate the spirit of H.R. 9 and share the mutual goal of deterring abusive behaviour plaguing our patent litigation system, we cannot support the bill in its current form.

“Absent additional modifications, we believe HR9 will create unintended consequences that will discourage investment in innovation and entrepreneurship by making it more difficult for any patent-reliant startup to defend their intellectual property. The net result would have a chilling effect on the innovation ecosystem, threatening the crown jewel of the broader U.S. economy and a key driver of American job creation.”

However Franklin did go on to say that the National Venture Capital Association does “appreciate several improvements that were made to the bill over the last several weeks, including Chairman Goodlatte’s efforts to address some of our concerns with the joinder provision, but also the pleadings, discovery and Inter Partes Review forms.”

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