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Barbara L.
Democrat CA 13

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  • The Innovation Act

    by Representative Barbara Lee

    Posted on 2013-12-16

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    LEE of california in the house of representatives Monday, December 16, 2013 Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my support for H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act.



    While not perfect, this legislation would take significant steps toward reducing the number of costly and abusive patent lawsuits.

    ``Patent trolls,'' or non-practicing entities that take advantage of the legal process for their own economic gain, are a massive cost to businesses and a significant strain on our already overburdened justice system.

    I strongly agree that we should be addressing this critical problem especially at a time of continuing economic recovery.

    However, like many, I had serious concerns about specific portions of this legislation.

    That is why I voted in strong support of an amendment introduced by my dear friend and colleague Congressman John Conyers, the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.

    His amendment would have improved the Innovation Act by adding provisions that protect customers targeted in infringement suits, promote transparency in patent ownership, and direct the Patent and Trademark Office to develop educational materials for small businesses.

    Unfortunately, while his amendment failed, I hope we will continue to work to implement many of his suggestions.

    As we vote on this legislation today, it is also important that we remember other issues affecting our ability to fight patent fraud.

    For example, the sequester cost the Patent and Trademark Office nearly $150 million this year. It also resulted in 1000 fewer patent examiners and delayed the construction of a satellite patent office in Silicon Valley.

    I commend this legislation's well intentioned goal to curb abusive patent litigation and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to end this destructive practice.

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