Legislation targeting patent trolls is picking up steam in Congress. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) became the latest lawmaker to offer a solution, introducing a bill aimed at making it easier for the victims of frivolous patent suits to fight back.
Cornyn’s bill, the Patent Abuse Reduction Act, would give the victims of patent troll litigation more information to defend themselves by requiring plaintiffs to disclose the substance of their claim and reveal their identifies when they file lawsuits. Like the House's Shield Act, sponsored by Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Cornyn's bill would also shift responsibility for the cost of the litigation to the losing party.
Not only have tech and Internet businesses found themselves the victims of frivolous patent troll lawsuits, but advertising agencies that handle interactive strategies for clients have also found themselves on the defense, vulnerable to suits that often add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"Abusive patent litigation, led by a growing number of 'patent trolls' in search of a quick payday, threatens the innovation patents were created to protect," Cornyn said in a statement. "These reforms will deter patent litigation abusers without prejudicing the rights of responsible intellectual property holders," he added.
Earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the Patent Quality improvement Act, which attempts to stop the suits from even getting to court, by allowing claims to be reviewed administratively by experts at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
As members of the Judiciary Committee, both Schumer and Cornyn have a good chance of getting their bills considered by the committee, since chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has said that taking up patent reform is a priority.
"I want to extend my appreciation to chairman Leahy for his coordination with me on this matter. I look forward to his continued support for patent reform," Cornyn said.