Today on the House floor, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) voted to pass H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act of 2013. This legislation helps curb abusive litigation by patent assertion entities, more commonly referred to as "patent trolls." These actors abuse the patent system by purchasing the rights to overly broad patents in order to threaten legitimate businesses and consumers with costly litigation. According to a Boston University study, lawsuits brought on by patent trolls cost the U.S. economy more than $29 billion annually.
"Patent trolls are gaming the patent system for undeserved profits. Patents are intended to foster innovation and entrepreneurship by protecting investments in new technologies," said Rep. Chu. "But patent trolls have devised a scheme of exploitation within our system, extorting settlement fees from unsuspecting innovators, consumers and small businesses. They know it is cheaper for their targets to settle than it is to pay the legal fees to defend themselves, so the suits they file are intended to trap their targets financially.
"While the bill is not perfect, the Innovation Act is a promising first step towards reining in these abusive tactics," Chu continued. "I still have concerns with provisions that address fee shifting, the federal judiciary and patent claim construction. We must fully fund the patent office to ensure strong patent quality. But this conversation will continue beyond today's vote, and my hope is to see these concerns addressed as the debate shifts to the Senate."
H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 33-5 and the full House by a vote of 325-91.
The White House Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) in support of the bill can be found here.