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Chris Coons appointed chair of US Senate IP subcommittee

Senator Christopher Coons

Five Democrats and four Republicans will serve on the subcommittee

Democratic senator Christopher Coons was announced as chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, today, February 16, a Senate spokesperson confirmed to Managing IP.

Republican senator Thom Tillis will serve as ranking member.

The rest of the nine-person subcommittee will consist of Democratic senators Mazie Hirono, Alex Padilla, Jon Ossoff and Peter Welch, and Republican senators John Cornyn, Marsha Blackburn and Tom Cotton.

Coons has been a strong proponent of patent rights. He was one of the main drivers behind efforts on Section 101 reform in 2019 and introduced the STRONGER Patents Act that same year. STRONGER would have restored the presumption of injunctive relief for patent infringement and made it harder to challenge patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

The bill didn’t pass, however, and industry sources told Managing IP at the time that they didn’t expect it to be enacted.

Coons was ranking member of the subcommittee during its reformation in 2019 when the Republicans had control of the Senate. But the now-retired senator Patrick Leahy took over as chair in 2021 when the Democrats won control.

Tillis has been involved in the subcommittee, first as chair and then as ranking member, since its reformation in 2019.

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