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Congress

Critics Decry Customized Provisions In Patent Bill

September 8, 2011

Will $17 million get you a custom-made amendment in the United States Congress? Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., seem to think so.

The pair are seeking to strip a provision from the patent reform bill that they say amounts to a bailout for one law firm and its drug company client. WilmerHale, acting on behalf of The Medicines Company missed a key patent filing deadline, potentially costing both companies millions.

Since 2005, Medicines Company has spent $17 million on lobbying and current patent legislation includes language potentially saving the companies millions of dollar.

And Sessions and Coburn aren't alone in seeing the sweeping patent legislation as a gift wrapped for special interests.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., proposed an amendment to remove a provision she says would help banks infringe on patents.

Both amendments are up for a vote Thursday afternoon, before the Senate votes on the full bill.

For more on the patent reform debate, visit our new Tech page.

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