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Pat Leahy shelves patent reform

Last year, it looked like Congress might finally pass legislation to deal with the growing problem of patent trolls. The House of Representatives passed legislation designed to make it easier for defendants to fight back against frivolous patent claims, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised to take up companion legislation in the Senate.

But negotiations dragged on for months, as competing interest groups couldn't agree on the deal's terms. On Wednesday, Leahy announced he was throwing in the towel.

"There has been no agreement on how to combat the scourge of patent trolls," Leahy said in an emailed statement. "We have heard repeated concerns that the House-passed bill went beyond the scope of addressing patent trolls, and would have severe unintended consequences on legitimate patent holders who employ thousands of Americans."

"Because there is not sufficient support behind any comprehensive deal, I am taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda," Leahy said.

In theory, the legislation could be brought up again later in the year, but the odds of that aren't very good.