Washington – The House has approved a measure that will put the brakes on the surge of recent abuses of the patent system. The Innovation Act would help stop companies whose main product is patent lawsuits, dubbed ‘patent trolls,’ which economists estimate now cost the U.S economy $29 billion a year. The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider similar legislation to stop patent trolls, starting at a hearing scheduled for December 17. Support for these reforms has grown over the past couple years as trolls expanded their targets beyond the tech industry, including everyone from retailers to restaurants to end users who buy products at office supply stores.
The Computer & Communication Industry Association, which has fought for balanced patent policy for decades, welcomed the proposed reforms in the Innovation Act. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“These reforms target patent lawyers bringing frivolous lawsuits to court – not patent holders bringing innovative products to market. We are grateful that members of Congress saw through misleading claims by patent trolls and passed narrow, bi-partisan legislation to curb this abuse of our legal system. This abuse can bankrupt small businesses and keep larger tech companies’ engineers in court rather than the office and drains $29 billion a year from our economy.”
“Everyone from those buying tech products this holiday season to small businesses to our leading innovative companies have reason to cheer House passage of the Innovation Act. This legislation would make it less profitable for patent trolls to sue, and give targets of unfair patent infringement claims better tools to fight back. Now their main choice is pay a lot now to a troll or pay a lot to a lawyer to fight the frivolous claim. We appreciate the leadership by House Chairman Goodlatte to fend off last minute attempts by those supporting patent trolls to weaken the bill. This legislation is a commendable, bipartisan effort to grow innovation, jobs and the economy.
We appreciate and look forward to Senate Chairman Leahy’s plans to push reform in the Senate.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Patent Counsel Matt Levy:
“As a patented inventor myself, it was a bit frustrating to see those supporting the patent troll industry trying to mislead lawmakers that this was a fight between big companies and small innovators when it was really a fight between all innovators and those seeking to abuse our patent system. In recent weeks these trolls have switched from sending misleading demand letters to consumers to sending misleading lobbying letters to lawmakers; the patent trolls tried to claim that this legislation targeting them would somehow target legitimate patent holders. I especially want to applaud the efforts of the Judiciary Committee and the Members of the House of Representatives who worked to master this subject. Let’s face it, patent law is not exactly an easy topic to explain, but Congressional staff dug in, did their homework, and carefully drafted reforms that will address some of the worst abuses of the patent system. We are grateful to Chairman Goodlatte and the other sponsors of this legislation for their leadership in standing up to this immense political pressure.”