March 18, 2014
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On December 5, the House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act, HR 3309, to reform patent litigation.
Right now, patent law is plagued by “patent trolls,” organizations that gobble up patents without using them and then sue other companies, hoping for a settlement. The Innovation Act’s goal is to protect innovators and reduce frivolous lawsuits.
Among other things, the act requires patent holders who are suing infringers to provide more information on the alleged infringement rather than filing abstract infringement claims, and to pay the defendant’s cost for (most) lawsuits if the defendant wins. It also requires the USPTO to provide education to small businesses on patent infringement.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is a supporter of this bill, and is currently urging the Senate to push the legislation forward and vote on patent reform. CEA’s mission is to grow the consumer electronics industry, and one way it does that is through the Innovation Movement, which mobilizes Americans on pro-business issues like international trade, Internet freedom, and skilled immigration.
According to Michael Petricone, CEA’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, patent reform is the issue he gets the most calls about. CEA cites one Boston University study, which found that patent troll lawsuits cost over $29 billion per year to American companies.
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