OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate panel to speed through patent bill – By Mario Trujillo and Julian Hattem – 05/06/15 06:06 PM EDT

LEDE: The Senate Judiciary Committee is making quick work of its new bill to fight patent trolls.

The Committee will hear testimony on the bill Thursday, and a mark up is likely to come before the Senate recesses for Memorial Day. The committee could put the bill on the committee’s agenda next week and mark it up on May 21. But nothing has yet been scheduled, according to the committee.

The 9:30 a.m. hearing Thursday will host companies generally supportive of the bill, including Diane Lettelleir of JCPenny, Mark Chandler of Cisco Systems, Julie Samuels of Engine, Kevin Rhodes of 3M Properties and chairman of 21C Coalition, and Henry Hadad of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Both Rhodes and Hadad represent companies from the 21C Coalition, which last week pointed to “welcome compromises” on discovery and pleading requirement provisions in the bill. The group had raised concerns that those provisions in a House bill were overly broad. But the group said “any meaningful reform” should also include changes to the U.S Patent Office’s own reviews, which were set up to offer a quick alternative to challenging a patent in court.

There is still lingering concern from some that the bill goes too far and would make it harder for people to bring legitimate patent infringement claims. Those concerns will likely be echoed by a few lawmakers who are still critical of broad reform. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a sponsor of the bill, has said the quicker the Senate moves, the better its odds.

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