Led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), a bipartisan group of 20 lawmakers recently introduced the Innovation Reform Act of 2015, aimed at cracking down on patent trolls, individuals and companies that sit on or misuse patents as a business strategy. Specifically, patent trolls, also known as patent licensing firms or non-practicing entities, obtain patents with no intention of ever legitimately using them. Instead, they wait for others to file patents on similar inventions, then threaten those new inventors with bogus patent infringement lawsuits.
As it's currently written, the bill would require lawsuit plaintiffs to more clearly specify which patents are at issue and what products they allegedly infringe. It also would allow a court to require the loser in a patent case to pay the winner's costs if the case was not reasonably justified. Supporters of the bill say such abusive use of patents costs American businesses, consumers and innovators billions of dollars a year.
An earlier version of the same bill easily passed the House in December 2013, but ultimately was pulled from the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar in May of 2014 by then-chairman Patrick Leahy, who said a more targeted bill was necessary. Among those joining Goodlatte on the bill are Communications Subcommittee ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Lamar Smith (R-Tex.).
If you believe that you're being unfairly targeted by a patent troll or simply need help filing for patent protection for your invention, call 866-37PATENT and schedule a consultation with an experienced patent attorney today.