The federal so-called “patent trolling bill” has again stalled in the U.S. Senate, for at least the seventh year in a row. A similar version of the bill sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives back in December 2013 with bipartisan support.
The contentious bill, which would overhaul certain rules and regulations of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, remains mired in the Senate. Among other changes, the provisions of the bill would streamline the fee structure for patent applications and make it more difficult for patent trolls to file lawsuits, by requiring them to disclose more information upfront.
Earlier versions of the bill have been backed by a large group of high-tech and consumer products companies, including Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Intel, and Cisco Systems. Large pharmaceutical companies have generally opposed prior versions of the bill.
According to Bloomberg, Senator Patrick Leahy, the bill’s primary sponsor, touted the bill stating, “it has now been nearly 60 years since Congress last acted to reform Patent law.”
Here in Georgia, Governor Deal signed an anti-patent trolling bill into law last month, after it passed the Georgia General Assembly with overwhelming bi-partisan support. According to the Atlanta Business Journal, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce praised the legislation, lauding it as a “new tool [for Georgia businesses] to fight back against these malicious practices.”
The practice of patent trolling is where the troll purchases or licenses patent rights, typically to a low quality patent, and then attempts to collect licensing fees from legitimate businesses. If the legitimate business fails to pay licensing fees, the troll typically files a lawsuit. These practices can cost your business thousands of dollars and sleepless nights.
If your business is the target of a patent troll, you need an attorney who understands the new Georgia anti-patent trolling law, and can help your business fight for its rights. James J. “Jim” Thomas II has more than 35 years of experience advising Georgia businesses and handling complex business and intellectual property litigation. Jim can help you with the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation including in intellectual property disputes. Visit www.litigationatlanta.com online, or give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 to set up a free consultation.