Earlier this month, we posted about the Innovation Act passed by the House of Representatives, a bill intended to regulate perceived abusive patent litigation tactics by certain patent assertion entities (what some refer to as “patent trolls”).  Last week, the Senate debated the merits of the bill as well as a competing bill proposed by Senator Leahy of Vermont.

Some of the measures that have been proposed to remedy alleged patent litigation abuse are heightened pleading requirements, limitations on discovery, and a stay of infringement litigation against end users to permit the manufacturer of the accused product or method to defend against the patent holder’s allegations.  Another proposed measure would grant the Federal Trade Commission authority to regulate unfair licensing demands.

During the hearing, some Senators expressed concern that Congress was moving too quickly before investigating all of the facts.  One Senator commented that Congress spent six years deliberating the America Invents Act prior to passing it.  Congress can afford to spend a few more months hearing from witnesses who will be impacted by a bill designed to reduce patent litigation abuses prior to passing any legislation.

Another Senator commented that the Innovation Act passed by the House may be “overkill” while another expressed hesitation over any bill designed to limit or restrict any party’s access to the judicial system.

On the other side, several witnesses and Senators requested that Congress move quickly to pass legislation that will reduce alleged abusive litigaiton behavior by certain non-practicing entities.

The Senate will continue debating the Innovation Act to determine whether they will approve it or propose a compromise bill which will then go to Committee with the House.

We will continue to track the debate as it unfolds.