“With well over $100 billion in the bank, it’s no great surprise that Apple, more than any other company on the planet, finds itself on the receiving end of lawsuits initiated by patent trolls,” Yoni Heisler reports for TUAW. “In 2012 alone, Apple was hit with 44 lawsuits from patent trolls, otherwise known as non-practicing entities (NPE).”

“While many topics in the tech world are often the cause of intense and passionate debate, the one issue that seemingly everyone can agree upon is that patent trolls are nothing more than poisonous entities looking to make a quick buck by piggybacking off of the success of others,” Heisler reports. “The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Barack Obama on Tuesday will announce a new plan intent on minimizing the prevalence and impact of lawsuits brought forth by patent trolls. All told, Obama’s plan includes five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations.”

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“To help deter questionable lawsuits, the Obama administration plans to, among other things, direct the Patent and Trademark Office to start a rule-making process aimed at requiring patent holders to disclose the owner of a patent, according to senior Obama administration officials,” Jared A. Favole and Brent Kendall report for The Wall Street Journal. “In addition, the president plans to ask Congress to pass legislation that would allow sanctions on litigants who file lawsuits deemed abusive by courts, officials said.”

“Obama is expected to direct the patent office to train examiners to scrutinize applications for overly broad patent claims,” Favole and Kendall report. “He also is looking to rein in the growing use of the International Trade Commission to settle patent disputes. In recent years, patent-holding firms have increasingly filed infringement claims at the ITC, which has jurisdiction over certain unfair trade practices and can bar the importation of products that infringe patents. The ITC process usually moves more quickly than a patent-infringement case in federal court.”

Favole and Kendall report, “The Obama administration would like Congress to change certain ITC legal standards and ensure that the agency has flexibility in hiring its judges. The president will order a review of existing procedures at the ITC, officials said.”

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