Patent News

Apr. 13, 2015

The Washington Times: GOP divided on bill to prevent bogus patents, by Kelly Riddell

This post originally appeared in The Washington Times on April 13, 2015.

Legislation aimed at stymieing bogus patent lawsuits is heating up in the nation’s capital — pitting universities against industry groups, entrepreneurial innovators against the titans of Silicon Valley and some establishment Republican politicians against political newcomers.

At the center of the debate is the Innovation Act, a timeworn issue aimed at cracking down on “patent trolls,” mostly shell companies that buy up vague patents with the intent of later suing other companies for infringement.

The debate centers on whether the bill imposes overreaching standards on patent litigation that would make it hard for innovators to protect their property rights or whether it has just the right touch in making it tougher and more financially risky for patent trolls to file groundless lawsuits.

On Tuesday the House Judiciary Committee will hear from Michelle Lee, undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and executives from Yahoo!,, Eli Lilly & Co and Biotechnology Industry Organization to debate the merits of the bill.