Congressman Offers Bill That Punishes Patent Trolls

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.

Source: BetaBeat

"Troll" © 2012 Mr. Chuckles / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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  1. 0
    SeanB says:

    Although worth a shot, as has been seen in the realm of "plagiarism" lawsuits, laws like this do not work.


    (A) makes a song

    (B) claims (A) copied thier song

    (A) makes a defense in court and wins, then goes after (B) for legal fees

    (B) turns out to be a shell holdings company with no real assets, and goes bankrupt to avoid paying it.

    (A) would have been better off just settling out of court.

  2. 0
    kefkakrazy says:

    If the patent troll has the case thrown out, or if they lose the case, then no, they don't have to pay the defending party's legal fees unless a judge rules such, which I don't believe is the norm.

    The entire point of the patent troll "industry" is that it's pretty much win/win for the patent holder. A lot of small/midsize companies will settle even a frivolous claim because they just don't have the cash available to fight a court battle, and a big company can always wind up losing even if they do fight. If it goes to court and the patent trolls lose, they don't really lose that much besides their own legal fees.

    Unsure how much effect this bill would actually have, but at the very least it would give encouragment to those small/midsize companies to fight the battles instead of taking a settlement to avoid court.

  3. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Wait..if its thrown out or they lose they do not have to pay? 0-o And it should be 100 times the amount. That way it would be a real stopper.

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