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Congress Seeks to Curb Patent Troll Abuses

27 Nov, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON – U.S. House and Senate bills are looking to increase transparency in patent ownership and provide extra protections for those being sued by patent trolls. The Senate bill includes reforms to demand letters, the highest priority of advertisers and the Stop Patent Abuse Now Coalition. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has introduced the Innovations Act, while Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) just introduced The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act. Both have similar provisions to protect businesses and innovators being targeted by patent trolls.

“When small businesses in Vermont and across the country are threatened with lawsuits for offering Wi-Fi to their customers or using document scanners in their offices, we can all agree the system is not being used as intended,” said Leahy, who collaborated with Goodlatte on the bill.

Dick O’Brien, executive vice president of government relations for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), said, “We will now pull out all the stops to ensure that assertion letter reform remains in the final version of the combined Senate/House version of the bill.”

Leahy has reportedly also pressed the White House to help address the problem of patent trolls and has pressured the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to use its current consumer protection authority to go after demand letters deemed unfair and deceptive.

Analysts predict it will be 2014 before Congress will get a final bill out of both chambers.

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