Innovation Act Passes the House

The Innovation Act, a Congressional bill designed to be anti-patent troll by making it harder for patent trolls to initiate litigation, recently passed the House of Representatives, and now moves onto the Senate. The bill aims to make abusive patent litigation more difficult by instituting a “loser pays” system, heightening transparency requirements by forcing patent trolls to disclose their ownership of the shell companies they use to launch lawsuits, and increasing pleading criteria by requiring plaintiffs to specifically explain how their patents are being infringed (currently plaintiff need only more generally claim that their patent is being infringed). However, PandoDaily recently featured a couple of points brought up by entrepreneurs and industry experts such as Danny Siegle regarding patent law reforms not included in the Innovation Act that it is claimed would further strengthen the Act’s anti-patent troll provisions. First is a provision allowing the Patent Office to review business method patents that are due to be litigated in court; opponents claim that such a provision would slow down legitimate patent infringement claims. Second, the House version of the Innovation Act does not require patent trolls to explain in their demand letters (as opposed to actual court pleadings) how they specifically claim their patent is being infringed; however, the Senate version of the Act does have such a provision. Finally, critics of the Innovation Act posit that the Act only treats the symptoms of the patent troll industry, rather than addressing the causes that allow patent trolls to operate, namely the broad and vague software and business method patents that trolls sue people on; instead, some believe that Congress should focus its efforts on equipping the Patent Office with more resources to better review software and business method patents and weed the broad, vague patents that patent trolls rely on.

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