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Thursday, November 21, 2013
House Panel Approves Patent Troll Bill

A U.S. congressional panel on Wednesday approved a bill targeting patent "trolls," companies that buy or license patents from others and then pursue licensing fees or file infringement lawsuits.

The House Judiciary Committee's vote 33-5 to send to the full House the measure.

This is part of an effort to curb abusive patent lawsuits that have sprung up in recent years, particularly in the technology sector. The measure would have changed how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reviews software patents to determine if they are valid.

The bill requires companies filing infringement lawsuits to provide specific details on what patent is infringed and how it is used.

The effort is backed by Cisco, Apple, Google and other technology powerhouses.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA),also praised the vote:

"Today marks progress in the fight against the patent trolls who exhort cash from innovative job creating companies. The Innovation Act of 2013 contains smart and common-sense provisions that will transform our patent system back into a mechanism to promote - not hinder - innovation. Among other things, the bill requires lawsuit plaintiffs to specify which patents are at issue and what products allegedly infringe. The Innovation Act also allows a court to require the loser in a patent case to pay the winner's costs if the case was not reasonably justified. We commend the members of both parties who voted for this pro-jobs, pro-economy bill.

"Now we must keep up the momentum. Every day that the 'patent troll' issue is not addressed is another day that bad actors can abuse our patent system to extort money from legitimate companies. We urge the full House to pass this legislation immediately."

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