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Rohrabacher: ‘Patent Reform’ Loss Boosts U.S. Ingenuity

May 23, 2014

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Friday applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision earlier in the week to postpone consideration of the “Patent Transparency Act,” effectively killing the legislation for this year. In December the full House passed its version of the bill over strong, bipartisan opposition led by the California Republican and Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur.

“The legislation, masquerading as ‘tort reform’ and an effort to curb ‘patent trolls,’ in reality would have accomplished the opposite of its stated objectives,” said Rohrabacher. “It would have taken away the ability of small, independent inventors while empowering high-tech corporate giants to steal their patents and defy them to go to court. Of course, those giants are advantaged by overpowering legal teams and budgets.”

On Wednesday Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT, said that weeks of negotiations on a compromise had reached a dead end and announced he would remove the bill from the panel’s legislative agenda.

In the months since the Republican-controlled House passed its version, Rohrabacher mounted more opposition, rallying unorganized inventors who stood to lose their patents. He personally called on college and university presidents across the nation, alerting them to how the so-called reform would empty their portfolios by jeopardizing patents developed on their campuses. He convinced IBM and other top companies to join forces with him and independent inventors to fight what he called the “Google Goliath Gang.”

The congressman vigorously opposed the House companion bill, complaining that his colleagues had refused to perform the necessary due diligence to recognize that it would destroy innovation. “It essentially would classify all inventors,” he said, “as scam artists and villains, making it harder for them to defend their intellectual property rights, adding costs associated with bringing their new technologies to market, and increasing the financial risks of doing so.”

The measure, he argued, would draw inventors and investors farther apart.

“That this anti-patent bill was disguised as a pro-patent reform was the most disgusting part of the debate,” said Rohrabacher. “What the giant multi-nationals pushing this legislation were trying to achieve was nothing less than the end of our patent system, which has for two centuries been the envy of the world.”