House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte Announces Retirement

By Gene Quinn
November 9, 2017

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Earlier today Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who has been Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and a strong proponent for patent reform, announced that he would be leaving Congress at the end of his current term and not standing for reelection in 2018.

In a letter to friends published on his official Congressional website, Goodlatte explained that ever two years he sits down with his wife — Maryellen — to discuss the future and decide whether to run for reelection. “When we discussed the 2018 election, the conversation ended a little differently than in past years,” Goodlatte explained. “After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District. I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters.”

Goodlatte explained in the letter that although he will not seek reelection in 2018, his work in Congress is not yet complete. Goodlatte specifically mentioned his continued desire to work on immigration reform, simplifying the tax code in order to stimulate job growth, enacting criminal justice reform, repealing Obamacare, and continuing to advance the freedoms and liberties enshrined in the Constitution.

Notably, Goodlatte did not mention patent reform, copyright reform, trade or intellectual property issues. Perhaps that can be expected in an announcement made for widespread consumption, but Chairman Goodlatte has continued to over the years list patent reform among his top priorities.

While some will no doubt be surprised to learn that Goodlatte is stepping down, and others will likely associate his decision to step down to Democrat victories in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday evening, those who have been watching Goodlatte and his District cannot be particularly shocked by this announcement. As Goodlatte himself mentioned in his announcement letter, his time as Chairman of the prestigious Judiciary Committee is ending at the end of the 115th Congress, which had caused some speculation for months that he might take this opportunity to exit. Further, rumors on a whisper level around Washington, DC and in Virginia had been mounting in recent months given the fact that Goodlatte has slowed his campaign fundraising efforts, and because he had largely been viewed as uncharacteristically abandoning his District, choosing to send Staffers to his District for meetings and events rather than appear himself.

With Goodlatte exiting the fate of further patent reform efforts in the House will largely depend upon who ultimately is tapped to wield the Chair’s gavel. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) can be expected to make an internal push for the gavel, but his handling of the House Oversight Committee during the Obama Administration rubbed many Republicans the wrong way, and he almost lost his reelection campaign in 2016 to retired Marine Colonel Doug Applegate, ultimately prevailing by only 1,600 votes. Notwithstanding, should Issa become the next Chair of the House Judiciary Committee patent reform would almost certainly proceed at a break-neck pace in the House.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 7 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. angry dude November 9, 2017 12:56 pm

    good riddance
    all swamp critters need to be kicked out one way or another

  2. JPM November 9, 2017 2:29 pm

    Excellent news here for inventors and other patent owners. Hopefully Issa leaves next.

  3. Bemused November 9, 2017 9:45 pm

    AD@1 and JPM@2: A hearty Amen! to both those statements.

  4. Edward Heller November 10, 2017 5:40 am

    Angry dude@1, I approve of your comments.

  5. Night Writer November 10, 2017 8:08 am

    Maybe he could donate all the money he took to burn down the patent system to help rebuild it.

    And, good riddance you corrupt politician. May you spend the rest of your life haunted by what you have done.

  6. Eric Berend November 13, 2017 6:36 am

    Comments to two articles on this blog have now been blocked. To my knowledge, I have posted nothing personally derogatory nor threatening here.

    Perhaps, my inventor-centric comments have offended the legal community too greatly.

    Gene: if you wished to make it clear I have somehow been made unwelcome here; then, I would have appreciated some sort of warning.

    it probably matters little in the greater scheme of everything: the United States is determined to destroy the IP interests of independent inventors.

    This censorship, is but “another brick in the Wall”.
    Message received, loud and clear: I will not return to this forum.

    So be it.

  7. angry dude November 13, 2017 9:53 am

    Eric Berend@6

    “the United States is determined to destroy the IP interests of independent inventors.”

    It’s not just “independent” inventors
    it’s actually any small company with less than 10m in the bank ready to go towards defending IPRs or litigation
    garage inventors enforcing their patents ?
    forget about it

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