Patent News

May. 22, 2014

Financial Times: US crackdown on patent trolls collapses, by Aaron Stanley

This article originally appeared in the Financial Times on May 22, 2014.

A fervent effort by Silicon Valley and Congress to crack down on litigious patent “trolls” came to an abrupt end on Wednesday when the Senate committee considering the legislation announced that it was removing the bill from its agenda.

Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, acknowledged that “trolls”, which acquire and assert patents second-hand, remain a problem. However, he added that no compromise could be reached with the stakeholders involved and that the measures in the proposed bill, adapted from an earlier House of Representatives bill, would impinge on the rights of lawful patent holders.

[…] a consensus proved to be impossible to achieve in the more deliberative Senate, as stakeholders in the patent community – including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, independent inventors and universities – mounted fierce opposition.

They claimed that the proposed reforms – including “loser pays” fee shifting, tighter discovery rules and restrictions on infringement notices – were part of a broader war on the patent system by the tech community that went far beyond what was necessary to solve the problem of frivolous litigation.

“Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll,” they wrote to the judiciary committee.

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