Enough votes have been cast in the Senate on Tuesday to pass a White House-backed patent reform bill and voting continues.

The bill is aimed at chipping away at a huge backlog of patent applications and offering alternatives to expensive litigation.

There is no companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives at present, but Republican Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has said he is close to completing a draft.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)