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House Approves Schiff/Issa Patent Pilot Bill

Location: Washington, DC

House Approves Schiff/Issa Patent Pilot Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives, today, voted to establish a pilot program in certain United States district courts to encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district judges. H.R. 34, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was approved by voice vote.

"This legislation will raise the level of expertise in patent litigation, improve the reliability of patents and allow businesses to spend more time inventing and less time litigating," Rep. Schiff said. "This will reduce the cost to consumers of everything from promising new medicines to the latest cell phones."

"Bipartisan support in the House, the Senate, and the patent community has moved forward this legislation to create patent expertise in District Courts," said Rep. Issa. "Judicial mistakes in patent litigation are costly. This legislation will provide resources and a system to increase expertise on patent law among Federal judges."

Under the legislation, if a judge opts-in to the new program and a patent case is randomly assigned to that judge, that judge keeps the case. When a case is randomly assigned to a judge in a district with the pilot program who has not opted to hear patent cases, that judge has the choice of keeping the case or referring the case to the group of judges who have opted-in to the program.

The core intent of the pilot program is to enhance training and staffing for judges who have the desire and aptitude to hear more patent cases, while preserving the principle of random assignment to help avoid forum shopping. The pilot project will last no longer than 10 years, and periodic studies will occur to determine the pilot project's success.

H.R. 34 has garnered broad support from the patent community and has not faced opposition in Congress. Last year, this legislation was approved in the House of Representatives and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate.

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