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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Senate Judiciary Approves Patent Troll Legislation

June 5, 2015—The Senate Judiciary Committee June 4 approved, 16 to 4, the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act (S. 1137), aimed at curbing the abusive patent litigation practices of so-called patent trolls.

Under the PATENT Act “fee-shifting” provisions, reasonable attorney fees will be awarded only if a court determines the position or conduct of the non-prevailing party (plaintiff or defendant) was not “objectively reasonable.” Fee-shifting would help businesses and courts discourage nuisance suits by patent trolls. During the mark-up, the committee rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would have wholly exempted universities from the fee-shifting provisions.

However, the PATENT Act “joinder” provisions for fee recovery would allow courts to exempt institutions of higher education when they are involuntarily named as an interested party in a suit.

In April, the AAMC joined a group of six higher education associations in a statement praising the PATENT Act as a “substantial improvement” over the Innovation Act (H.R. 9), which passed the House in the previous Congress but stalled in the Senate due to concerns that it was too broad [see Washington Highlights, May 1, 2015].

In 2014, President Obama called on Congress to address patent trolls in his State of the Union address [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 31, 2014].

Contact:

Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116
Email: mshick@aamc.org

Stephen Heinig
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0488
Email: sheinig@aamc.org

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org