A marketing company is currently helping CEA and a coalition of other companies (and legislators!) in a project to raise awareness to fight “patent troll” issues and to petition the senate for Patent Legislation Reform.
According to the site, their message is:
Sign our petition now and tell the Senate to focus on patent reform during lame duck. No more excuses!
However, the site does not tell you anything further without having to input all of your information, which we were not willing to do. The CEA does have lots of anti-troll websites and campaigns and there is no indication how this is any different than previous efforts.
There are now fourteen bills that have been introduced in Congress to deal with some aspect of the patent troll issue, such as:
- Innovation Act (H.R. 3309)
- Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S. 1720)
- Patent Quality Improvement Act (S. 866)
- Patent Abuse Reduction Act (S. 1013)
- Patent Litigation Integrity Act (S. 1612)
- Transparency in Assertion of Patents Act (S. 2049)
- Patent Fee Integrity Act (S. 2146)
- Trade Protection Not Troll Protection Act (H.R. 4763)
- Demand Letter Transparency Act (H.R. 3540)
- Innovation Protection Act (H.R. 3309)
- Patent Litigation and Innovation Act (H.R. 2639)
- SHIELD Act (H.R. 845)
- Stopping the Offensive Use of Patents Act (STOP Act) (H.R. 2766)
- End Anonymous Patents Act (H.R. 2024)
The problem is, there is no single, universally accepted definition of a patent troll. The term is generally applied to companies that don’t create (or intend to create) any products or services but instead assert patents as their sole business model. Other terms for patent trolls include non-practicing entities (NPE) and patent assertion entities (PAE). Unfortunately, one person’s troll is another person’s champion of (their own) patent rights. It is very difficult to legislate a solution to the patent litigation abuse problem without affect- ing the intellectual property rights of legitimate companies.
The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act (S. 1720), which was introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last November, is the main Senate bill currently under consideration.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has focused on fee-shifting provisions, which would require the losing party in patent litigation to pay the prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees. The Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) passed by the House has a provision that shifts attorneys’ fees unless the court finds that the losing party’s position and conduct were “reasonably justified in law and fact” or there are “special circumstances” making an award unjust. The current version of S. 1720 does not include any fee-shifting provision.
It remains to be seen how these issues will be sorted out. In the meantime, you can view the video and petition at http://p2a.co/xfcZHLU and follow them on twitter @PatentFix.