US anti-patent troll bill introduced

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US anti-patent troll bill introduced
Bob Goodlatte

Troll slayer law looks likely.

A proposed law introduced by a US Republican, Bob Goodlatte, promises to make life more difficult for so-called patent trolls that vexatiously attempt to force organisations into pecuniary settlements over alleged intellectual property rights infringements.

Goodlatte's bill follows a discussion draft from September this year, and if passed will require patent claimants to provide far more detail as to alleged infringements early in on court action.

It would also force patent trolls that lose cases to pay legal fees — unless they are able to show that the case brought was substantially justified, according to the bill.

The proposed new law builds on earlier legislative efforts against vexatious patent litigation, such as the SHIELD bill introduced by Democrat congressman Peter de Fazio.

Goodlatte's bill has the support of US president Barack Obama, who in June this year came out strongly against patent trolls that are increasingly seen as being a burden on the American economy and a hindrance to innovation.

With support from both Republican and Democrat parties, the anti-patent troll legislation is likely to pass into law.

While smaller companies and organisations are being targeted by patent trolls as easy pickings since they don't have the millions of dollars to defend themselves in court, larger enterprises are also duking it out over infringement allegations.

One of the best known patent cases involves Apple and Samsung, and has dragged on for years with costs in the billions of dollars.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has also asked the United States Supreme Court to "strike down" vague and ambigious patents so as to reduce the amount of litigation around these.

Full text of Bob Goodlatte's bill:

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