Patent News

Feb. 6, 2015

The Daily Caller: Reform Bill Takes Aim At Patent Trolls, Pisses Off Conservatives Instead, by Peter Fricke

This post originally appeared in The Daily Caller on February 6, 2015.

Congress is considering patent reform legislation designed to discourage frivolous infringement suits, but some conservatives claim the bill excessively weakens property protections.

Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte announced in a press release Thursday that he would re-introduce the Innovation Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support in 2013 but stalled in the Senate.

“In recent years,” Goodlatte said, “we have seen an exponential increase in the use of weak or poorly granted patents by patent trolls to file numerous patent infringement lawsuits against American businesses with the hope of securing a quick payday,” forcing companies to spend resources on legal defense that could otherwise be spent on “innovating and growing their businesses.”


Some patent experts, though, contend that patent trolls are not as big of a problem as advocates of U.S. patent reform make them out to be.

Intellectual Asset Management Magazine reported Wednesday that although law firms turned to “exceedingly profitable patent trials” in the immediate aftermath of the recession to make up for lost corporate and financial clients, “that work has been drying up for some time.”

Recent academic research, IAM claims, has found that after a drop in filing numbers in 2014, the current rate of patent litigation filings is roughly equivalent to what it had been five years earlier.

Other conservative critics have focused on the bill’s implications for intellectual property protections, saying innovation will suffer without sufficiently strong patent laws.

Adam Mossoff, a law professor at George Mason University, claims the legislation “weakens and devalues the patents of all inventors working throughout America’s innovation economy … creating unprecedented hurdles for all owners of patented innovation who seek redress in court against infringers of their property rights.”

“For over 200 years, the patent system has been the engine of America’s unrivaled innovation economy,” Mossoff continues, saying, “Congress should tread very carefully before making massive changes to the patent system lest it disrupt or harm American innovation.”