Menu
Senate committee approves bill targeting patent trolls

Senate committee approves bill targeting patent trolls

The legislation aimes to protect businesses from abusive patent lawsuits

A U.S. Senate committee has voted to approve a bill aimed at curbing abusive lawsuits by so-called patent trolls.

The bipartisan Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act, introduced in late April, now heads to the full Senate for consideration after the Senate Judiciary Committee vote Thursday.

The bill targets patent-holding companies that use infringement lawsuits as a primary business model. It would require judges to award attorney fees to defendants or plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits when the court finds the other side acted unreasonably.

It also requires that companies sending patent licensing demand letters provide details of the alleged infringement, not "vague" demands. The bill would also delay expensive discovery procedures in some patent infringement lawsuits, and it would shield customers using allegedly infringing products from lawsuits.

Several technology groups have praised legislation targeting patent trolls, but others have suggested the bills would hurt the ability of small patent holders to file lawsuits against infringers.

The bill still needs "significant work," said Brian Pomper, executive director of the Innovation Alliance, representing tech and manufacturing companies. The bill leaves open the potential for abuse of the customer lawsuit provision, and it includes overly broad discovery provisions, he said in a statement.

"We can strengthen our patent laws without undermining intellectual property rights and crippling a system that is so important to incentivizing innovation and job creation in our country," Pomper added.

Sponsors are open to changing the bill as it moves to the full Senate, said Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and main sponsor of the PATENT Act. The committee tried to "strike the right balance" between ongoing patent reforms at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and concerns about abusive patent lawsuits, he said during Thursday's hearing.

Some "good-faith negotiations" on the bill continue, Grassley added.

The Consumer Electronics Association praised the bill, saying in a statement that it "closes the legal loopholes used by patent trolls -- the individuals and companies that don't invent or manufacture anything useful, but rather abuse our patent system and extort American innovators."

A similar bill was introduced in February in the House of Representatives.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationlegalintellectual propertypatentU.S. Senate Judiciary CommitteeU.S. Patent and Trademark OfficeConsumer Electronics AssociationChuck GrassleyInnovation AllianceBrian Pomper

Brand Post

Featured

Slideshows

Malwarebytes shoots the breeze with channel, prospects

Malwarebytes shoots the breeze with channel, prospects

A Kumeu, Auckland, winery was the venue for a Malwarebytes event for partner and prospect MSPs - with some straight shooting on the side. The half-day getaway, which featured an archery competition, lunch and wine-tasting aimed at bringing Malwarebytes' local New Zealand and top and prospective MSP partners together to celebrate recent local successes, and discuss the current state of malware in New Zealand. This was also a unique opportunity for local MSPs to learn about how they can get the most out of Malwarebytes' MSP program and offering, as more Kiwi businesses are targeted by malware.

Malwarebytes shoots the breeze with channel, prospects
EDGE 2019: Channel forges new partnerships during evening networking

EDGE 2019: Channel forges new partnerships during evening networking

Partners, vendors and distributors reconnected during a number of social gatherings during EDGE 2019. The first evening saw the channel congregate for a welcome party at the Hamilton Island yacht club, while the main poolside proved to be the perfect stop for a barbecue on the final night.

EDGE 2019: Channel forges new partnerships during evening networking
Show Comments