The House of Representatives today passed U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s bill to curb abusive patent lawsuits by so-called “patent trolls.”
Goodlatte’s “Innovation Act” (H.R. 3309) targets patent-holding entities that file frivolous infringement lawsuits to extract settlement fees. The bill would require more transparency from plaintiffs, including disclosure of patent-owners and specific explanations about the nature of alleged infringement. Courts would be required to make decisions about a lawsuit’s validity early in the process, so that cases based on invalid claims aren’t dragged into lengthy and costly proceedings. The bill also would allow judges to award attorneys’ fees to victims of frivolous lawsuits.
The bill had bipartisan support, sailing through the House by a vote of 325-91. Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he considers the legislation “central to U.S. competitiveness, job creation, and our nation’s future economic security.”
“In recent years, we have seen an exponential increase in the use of weak or poorly-granted patents by so-called patent trolls to file numerous patent infringement lawsuits against American businesses with the hopes of securing a quick payday,” Goodlatte said in a news release. “Everyone from independent inventors, to start-ups, to mid and large sized businesses face this constant threat.”
Goodlatte also narrates the attached video explaining the bill. The production may remind viewers of the classic Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock segments.
The bill had support from top technology technology companies such as Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft.
A Senate patent reform proposal has been introduced by Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.