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Higher Ed Associations Express Concern as House Panel Approves Patent Litigation Reform

November 22, 2013—The AAMC and five other higher education associations Nov. 19 submitted a statement  for the record on the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), before the committee approved (33-5) the latest version of the measure at a Nov. 20 markup [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 15]. 

Commonly referred to as anti-“patent troll” legislation, H.R. 3309 would alter procedural matters relating to the America Invents Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-29), including provisions allocating fees to parties in civil proceedings challenging patents.

In the statement, the associations expressed continuing concerns with H.R. 3309, noting, “We believe that a number of provisions in the Manager’s Amendment are problematic, including the extremely broad scope of civil actions to which fee shifting would apply.... We are concerned that [current] proposals would undercut the value of a patent to encourage investment in new technology, which is why patents exist, and how universities use them.” 

In the statement, the associations also urged adoption of the Innovation Protection Act (H.R. 3349).

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the panel’s ranking member, agreed with the association’s assertion that H.R. 3309 goes too far, stating, “Unfortunately, the legislation before us today overreacts to these issues and would severely undermine the role of our independent judiciary in general and innovation in particular.”

However, the committee rejected (14-19) a Democratic amendment that would have taken a narrower approach than the Goodlatte bill.

The higher education associations on the statement include the AAMC, the Association of American Universities, Association of Public Universities and Land-grant Universities, American Council on Education, Association of University Technology Mangers, and the Council on Governmental Relations.


Stephen Heinig
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0488

Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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