U.S. House panel passes bill targeting ‘patent trolls’

“A U.S. congressional panel on Wednesday approved a bill targeting patent ‘trolls,’ companies that buy or license patents from others and then aggressively pursue licensing fees or file infringement lawsuits,” Reuters reports. “The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 33-5 to send to the full House a measure that appeared to have the best chance of reining in patent assertion entities, known derisively as ‘trolls.'”

“The White House in June urged Congress to take steps to curb abusive patent lawsuits that have sprung up in recent years, particularly in the technology sector,” Reuters reports. “The patent reform bill, introduced by Representative Robert Goodlatte, was approved after Goodlatte stripped out a measure that would have changed how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reviews software patents to determine if they are valid. The bill aims to fight frivolous patent litigation.”

“‘Within the past couple of years we have seen an exponential increase in the use of weak or poorly granted patents against American businesses with the hopes of securing a quick payday,’ said Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, who chairs the committee,” Reuters reports. “‘These suits target a settlement just under what it would cost for litigation, knowing that these businesses will want to avoid costly litigation and probably pay up,’ Goodlatte said at the committee session in which the bill was approved… Internet companies largely support the Goodlatte bill, and the effort is backed by Cisco Systems Inc, Apple Inc, Google Inc and other technology powerhouses.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Read the text of H.R. 3309: “Innovation Act” here.

10 Comments

  1. Stop giving patents for a “process”. You create a new screen, fine, you describe how to move you finger on the screen, no. You can copyright your software that uses a method of input, but unless you create the device that inputs the data, then no, no patent.

    That would stop this ridiculous lawsuit drama that seriously damages companies who are trying to create a product.

        1. We could fall into a semantics argument but, Yes, Apple didn’t create the capacitive touch screen. Yes they do create devices that use it. They acknowledge that and pay a license fee. Bravo. They are forced into trying to “patent” every conceivalbe method of interacting with a touch screen. That’s where the problem lies…

          1. Actually, Apple did create the first successful and practical transparent double touch capacitance touch screen… A hardware screen and software combination capable of discerning two or more contacts and motions at the same time. They own the patent on that. So, you ARE wrong.

  2. Gotta love these horse before the cart.

    “Within the past couple of years we have seen an exponential increase in the use of weak or poorly granted patents against American businesses”

    If the patent office did it’s job and granted strong and excellent patents there would not be this issue.

    1. I don’t get issuing a patent for things that doesn’t have a working examples (at least a prototype if not a production model), like the dude who supposedly invented the iPhone in 1997. A video of the product at work should be mandatory with any patent.

      1. I don’t know if a video or prototype is possible for all patents but you are right, something does need to be done to address the patent issue overall, it’s becoming quite the joke.

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