Patent litigation can make or break a start-up and lawmakers know the entire patent litigation system is fundamentally broken – even if they won't publicly admit it. But at least one member of Congress is trying to do something about the practice of patent trolling. Peter DeFazio (D-ORE.) has introduced a bill called the "Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act," designed to put a stop to patent abuse. The bill is short, sweet and to the point: a company that files a patent infringement suit that the court determines is frivolous or without merit would be forced to pay the defendants’ legal fees.
From the bill: "…in an action disputing the validity or alleging the infringement of a computer hardware or software patent, upon making a determination that the party alleging the infringement of the patent did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding, the court may award the recovery of full costs to the prevailing party, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than the United States."
DeFazio offered the following statement when he introduced the bill:
"Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs. They pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create and then suing the innovators who did the hard work and created the product."
It's good to see that someone is taking a common sense approach to a serious problem. We will continue to follow this bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.