Patent trollsthose nefarious entities who clog the courts with frivolous patent lawsuitsare sweating. Patent litigation bills are advancing in both the House and the Senate, and President Obama has vowed to sign reform legislation before leaving office. If the reformers win, the patent trolls will have to scavenge elsewhere, and a broken system that has encouraged litigation rather innovation will finally get fixed.
The House Judiciary Committee has approved the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) by a 24-8 vote. This bipartisan bill would curb abusive patent litigation by requiring plaintiffs to cite specific harms caused by the alleged infringement, shortening the discovery period, and making it easier for interested parties to join the litigation.It would also shift litigation costs to the losing party if the underlying claim were deemed questionable and require disclosure to the United States Patent and Trademark Office of individuals having an interest in the patent. The bill also allows an innocent customer of an alleged infringing manufacturer to avoid getting entangled in protracted and expensive litigation.