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Public Statements

Authorizing Pilot Program for Patent Cases

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CHU. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, this bill seeks to create a pilot program that will enhance district court expertise in patent cases.

Patent litigation is complex and highly technical. This makes litigation expensive, time consuming, and unpredictable. Moreover, the reversal rate of district court decisions is high, hovering around 50 percent. The bill before us today, H.R. 628, seeks to increase efficiency and consistency in patent and plant variety protection litigation and reduce the reversal rate.

The pilot program created by this bill would enable interested judges in certain district courts to develop expertise in adjudicating patent and plant variety protection cases. This will create a cadre of judges who have advanced knowledge of patent and plant variety protection due to more intensified experience in handling the cases, along with special education and career development opportunities.

By providing judges with more training and experience in patent law, this country will have fairer and more predictable decisions resulting in a positive effect on the economy as a whole, as businesses will be able to allocate more time to inventing and less time litigating.

The program would involve six of the Nation's 94 judicial districts on a strictly voluntary basis. Note this is just a pilot program; and unless Congress chooses to renew it, it will automatically expire after 10 years. The bill mandates reporting requirements to Congress that will help guide our future efforts to further improve the patent system. We will monitor the effects of this program closely.

H.R. 628 has bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee and broad support from the patent bar and affected industry and trade groups. In 2006, a nearly identical bill, H.R. 5418, was reported by the Judiciary Committee and passed the House under suspension. The legislation passed the House again under suspension in the last Congress. This Congress, back in March of 2009, this House passed H.R. 628. This amended version before us today expands the number of districts that are eligible to be chosen for this program.

I want to particularly note the efforts of my friends on both sides of the aisle, Representative Issa and Representative Schiff, whose tireless and substantial personal efforts shepherded this bill from start to finish--and we are close to the finish line.

I urge my colleagues to once again join me in supporting this bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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