The Commerce Department voiced approval of the House's patent reform legislation Tuesday, signaling much needed support for an issue that has been bogged down in Congress for the better part of a decade.
In a letter to the bill's sponsor, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich., Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said he supports an amended version of the House legislation. Locke reiterated support for a Senate version of patent reform that passed in March.
"These two bills are identical in many respects, and we are confident that the variations between the two can be resolved and that enactment of a bipartisan consensus bill is within reach," Locke wrote. "We look forward to working with Congress toward prompt passage of legislation that will enable more timely and quality-focused examination of patent applications, establish a secure funding mechanism for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and reduce litigation uncertainties and costs."
Locke said he will work with lawmakers to make some revisions to USPTO fee setting authority and the way patents are litigated.
The House legislation is expected to come up for a floor vote as soon as the week of June 13.