Anti-Patent Troll Bill Tabled by U.S. Senate

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee tabled consideration of the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act bill, the Senate version of the House of Representatives’ Innovation Act bill passed six months ago. Committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy stated that removal of the bill was due to lack of support for a comprehensive deal, and the failure of legislators and special interest groups on both sides to come to agreement. Sen. Leahy also criticized the House bill for going beyond the scope of addressing patent trolls and including provisions that the senator believed would negatively impact legitimate patent holders. Sen. Leahy stated that the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act could come back up for consideration later in the year if the various interested parties could come up with a more targeted bill that focused solely on the issue of patent trolls. However, the Senate is also considering other, more targeted legislation to address patent trolls. One of the more notable bills is one introduced in the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection by Senator Claire McCaskill. Sen. McCaskill’s bill would require creation of a registry of demand letters that law firms send to alleged infringers on behalf on behalf of their clients (the idea, presumably, is to allow recipients to search the registry to see if the law firm represents non-practicing entities, so that the recipient knows if they are dealing with a patent troll or a practicing entity with a potentially legitimate claim). Another bill, introduced in the House, would require patent infringement demand letters to include certain information that would permit recipient to further investigate the claim against them.

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