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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3309, Innovation Act; and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1105, Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, I support H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, and the rule we are debating now. This bipartisan legislation brings much-needed reforms to our patent litigation process, which continues to be plagued by patent trolls.

Patent trolls use weak patents to extort millions of dollars from innocent business owners through demand letters and frivolous patent infringement lawsuits. Businesses are forced to decide between years of costly litigation or a settlement.

The number of patent infringement claims has almost doubled in the past 3 years, and The New York Times reported that one lawyer filed patent lawsuits against 1,638 companies in the past 5 years. These lawsuits soak up capital that is better spent on investment, innovation, and job creation.

In fact, a 2012 study by the Boston University School of Law found that patent trolls cost the American economy $80 billion annually. The study also found that defendants paid $29 billion to patent trolls in 2011 alone.

The Innovation Act targets abusive patent litigation while protecting legitimate patent infringement claims. It provides accountability on the front end of litigation by requiring parties to state exactly why they are filing suit. H.R. 3309 also requires parties who file meritless patent claims to pay the attorneys' fees of their victims as a disincentive to pursue their baseless claims.

These reforms are vital to restore accountability and rein in abusive, frivolous, and costly patent lawsuits. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation, and I thank Chairman Goodlatte for introducing this bipartisan bill.

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