Patent reform in peril as trial lawyers flex muscle

Gigaom

The Senate Judiciary Committee failed to go forward with a vote on patent reform that had been expected to take place during a Thursday hearing. The delay comes at a time that lobbying groups are increasing their efforts behind the scenes to influence the Innovation Act, a bi-partisan bill intended to cure a U.S. patent system widely regarded as dysfunctional.

The delay on the vote came the same day as a new patent booster group appeared on the scene. The group, named “Partnership for American Innovation,” is an odd clustering of seven big companies, including Apple(s aapl), Ford(s f), Microsoft (s msft) and Pfizer.

It’s not clear if the Senate delay and the emergence of the new patent group are related, or if the hold-up is due instead to pressure exerted by trial lawyers on Democratic Party leaders.

According to people familiar with the matter, trial lawyers are concerned about fee-shifting provisions in the Innovation Act, which are intended…

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