Story 2014-05-22 3MP Anti-Troll Patent Reform Stalls in US Senate

Anti-Troll Patent Reform Stalls in US Senate

in legal on (#3MP)
story imageIn 2011 the US Congress passed the "America Invents Act" , a so-called "patent reform" bill that seemed more like a wish list for companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Intellectual Ventures that file lots of patents and enforce them vigorously as part (or all) of their business model. That bill was signed into law by President Obama.

A follow-up bill oriented more towards what the rest of us might consider patent reform, aimed at protecting businesses from patent trolls and nuisance lawsuits was passed by the US House of Representatives last year by a vote of 325 to 91; it included provisions for requiring patent ownership to be more transparent, more specific language in infringement lawsuits, plaintiff liability for legal costs in unsuccessful lawsuits, delaying legal discovery during a lawsuit until the court has finished reviewing the claims, and allowing companies to protect end users against skip-level infringement lawsuits.

However, the counterpart bill in the Senate was postponed indefinitely on Wednesday by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, apparently because of infighting between the pro-reform faction (Internet companies including Google, Facebook, and Amazon; other tech companies such as Verizon; and retailers) and the go-slow faction (pharmaceutical companies, trial lawyers and universities). Here's the statement from the universities on the postponement.

[Ed note: there seems to be general consensus that patent reform is desperately necessary to correct a deeply flawed system. But if government is unable to do it, then what do we do?]
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