Feeds

US Senator introduces 'Patent Abuse Reduction Act'

Rackspace and industry groups like it, trolls maybe not so much

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

US Senator John Cornyn, who represents Texas, has introduced the “Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013”.

Cornyn says the Bill (PDF, brace for legalese) is intended to have the following effects:

“This bill would require plaintiffs to disclose the substance of their claim and reveal their identities when they file their lawsuit; allow defendants to hale into court interested parties; bring fairness to the discovery process; and shift responsibility for the cost of litigation to the losing party. These reforms will deter patent litigation abusers without prejudicing the rights of responsible intellectual property holders.”

The legislation, if passed, will make it hard for patent trolls to persist with their tactics of using corporate chimeras to launch multiple instances of litigation against the same target. It will also force trolls to pay all parties' costs if they lose a patent case.

Response to the bill has been positive. Rackspace, also based in Texas, has declared the Bill a fine idea and naming it “a very powerful weapon” in the fight against trolls.

The Internet Association also likes the Bill, calling it “a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion about how best to put an end to abusive patent litigation practices and to promote, rather than burden, real innovation in today’s Internet economy.”

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation and Consumer Electronics Association have also come out in support of the bill.

Will it become law? Cornyn is a member of the Judiciary Committee, but as a Republican is in the minority. That may not be a fatal problem, given President Barack Obama has signalled patent law reform is something he wants to get done. The Democrat chair of the committee, Patrick Leahy, is presumably aware of that desire. Even if he expresses enthusiasm for Cornyn's efforts the bill's no certainty to become law, because at least two other bills with similar aims are floating around Washington, some from Democrats.

That's a clear signal that both sides of politics agree something needs to be done. Just what and when will doubtless be decided in back rooms in coming months. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.