Tags: Darrell Issa | patent reform

Darrell Issa Battles 'Patent Trolls' in New Low-Profile Assignment

Friday, 05 Dec 2014 09:13 AM

Outgoing House Oversight Committee chief Darrell Issa is set to take on the “patent trolls” after being named as the new chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on the Internet, Courts and Intellectual Property.

His new position will mean that the Californian congressman will have a much lower profile in Washington D.C. than in his previous post, which brought him into direct conflict with the Obama administration, according to The Hill.

But Issa’s new job, which he assumes when Congress returns next year, will allow him to help craft new patent laws, which is a top government priority for next year.

Under the current legislation, companies known as “patent trolls” stockpile patents to extract huge settlements in court from technology companies.

Five hundred high-tech firms had united to back a bipartisan bill that would have changed the law in favor of technology companies, reducing the number of nuisance suits and the pressure on tech firms to settle.

President Barack Obama was dubbed "the great slayer of patent trolls" by Wired magazine after he backed patent reform. But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, stunned Silicon Valley lobbyists by cancelling a Senate vote on the bill at the eleventh hour.

Leahy eventually admitted that outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had instructed him to drop patent reform on the orders of a powerful contingent of trial lawyers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, trial lawyers have donated more to Reid's campaigns since 2009 than any other industry, which noted that his single largest contributor was major plaintiffs firm Weitz & Luxenberg.

Issa will be able to draw on his own vast knowledge in creating new laws on intellectual property rights, considering he owns 37 patents himself and made a fortune leading a tech company that manufactured car alarm systems before entering politics. He’s believed to be one of the richest members on Capitol Hill.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association, congratulated Issa on his appointment: “We are confident he will lead the House subcommittee in the same problem-solving manner that he led the House Oversight Committee and our industry association.”

Shapiro continued: “From starting his own business to being a patent owner, Chairman Issa brings real world experience to a vitally important subcommittee.

“We look forward to working with him and the entire subcommittee on a range of intellectual property issues the consumer electronics industry faces such as utility patents, design patents, trademarks and copyrights. Chairman Issa may not always be in agreement with our positions, but he is ethical, thorough and thoughtful.

“A great leader like Chairman Issa is vital for the subcommittee responsible for protecting and promoting innovation, America's greatest asset.”

In his former position heading the Oversight Committee, Issa clashed with the administration over such scandals as the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.

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Outgoing House Oversight Committee chief Darrell Issa is set to take on the “patent trolls” after being named as the new chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on the Internet, Courts and Intellectual Property.
Darrell Issa, patent reform
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2014-13-05
Friday, 05 Dec 2014 09:13 AM
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