WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 -- An intellectual property rights bill that was expected by many earlier this year to easily glide through Congress has stalled. Since the Patent Reform Act (HR 2795) has failed to meet expectations, a handful of the bill's early supporters are suggesting the bill die in committee.
Authored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, the bill has had the opposite effect than members of Congress had originally intended. When the bill was introduced on June 8 it was heralded by Rep. Smith as a silver bullet, designed to enhance the nation's patent system. Opponents of the controversial bill argued the bill would dull America's intellectual edge, disadvantage the nation's small businesses, cost Americans jobs and stifle individual ingenuity.
"Behind closed doors, businesses, small and large are fighting tooth and nail to either gut or kill this controversial bill," said Ron Riley, president of the Professional Inventors Alliance. "Many industries directly or indirectly affected by patents, such as high-tech, pharmaceuticals, bio-tech and independent inventors would rather see the legislation die on the vine or heavily gutted."
In an effort to keep the controversial bill moving as scheduled in Congress, Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) held an odd and impromptu one-man Judiciary Committee Hearing on July 26. Following the weak showing of interest for the bill in the Senate, rumors circulated on Capitol Hill that Rep. Smith planned to hold a quick mark-up of the bill on Friday July 29, just hours before Congress' annual August Recess vacation, but he failed to muster support.
"In an attempt to save the highly controversial and heavily crippled bill, instead of a mark up, the House subcommittee is back-tracking. It is reported to be planning a hearing around the first part of September," said Riley. "Committee's often abruptly cancel congressional mark ups, such as in this case and instead schedule hearings in an attempt to regain support for a bill."
The Professional Inventors Alliance USA ( http://www.piausa.org ), based in Washington, D.C. represents several thousand U.S. inventors. The group was founded more than a decade ago to protect American invention and to encourage innovation.