Harry Reid Bows Down To Trial Lawyers And Big Pharma In Killing Patent Reform
from the same-old-story dept
Tuesday evening, I had a discussion with a friend who was working on patent reform efforts. I said that the reform effort was dead, but my friend insisted that it was being negotiated as we spoke, and that the folks working on it wouldn’t be doing so if it died. But, of course, by Wednesday morning it really was dead, and basically everyone who had been working hard on it pointed their finger at one person: Harry Reid. Within minutes of Leahy announcing that patent reform was dead, a whole bunch of people reached out to all say it was Reid’s fault. And, that story got out fast. Basically everyone is saying that Harry Reid called Leahy and told him to kill the bill after trial lawyers and the pharmaceutical industry complained to Reid. Reid, fearing a loss in donations from those groups that often support Democrats in an election year, killed the bill.
Most of the reports said that Reid told Leahy he wouldn’t allow the bill to come to the floor, but we heard a slightly different story: Reid didn’t want it to come to the floor, and if it passed out of the Senate Judiciary with strong bipartisan support, he would be forced to bring it to the floor. That’s why it was killed before it even had the chance, and Leahy had to pull it off the agenda without even allowing the Judiciary Committee to vote on it.
This is politics as usual. The same groups killed patent reform efforts in 2004, and basically every two years after that until they got a watered down bill in 2011. Unfortunately, if the same pattern holds, we may not see patent reform until 2021, by which time it too will likely be useless. And all the while actual innovation and our economy suffers.