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Anti-patent troll bill passes U.S. House with huge majority

Published Dec 5th, 2013 8:30PM EST
Anti-Patent Troll Legislation Passes House

Patent trolls are so widely disliked that they’ve actually inspired Congress to do something to crack down on them. The Washington Post reports that the United States House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Innovation Act by a margin of 325 to 91, a huge win for legislation aimed at reining in purportedly frivolous tech patent lawsuits.

The bill is basically an attempt by lawmakers to throw sand in the gears of patent trolls’ legal machinery by requiring patent plaintiffs to be much more specific in detail exactly how a defendant allegedly infringed upon their patents; by forcing patent plaintiffs to name all parties who have a financial stake in the patents in suit so that companies can’t easily set up opaque shell entities; and by making losing patent plaintiffs pay for defendants’ legal fees so that non-infringing companies don’t have to waste untold amounts of money to defend themselves from constant suits.

Both Microsoft and Google have offered their support for the bill, which is significant since both companies are often at odds when it comes to suing one another over their own patents. That the legislation passed with such overwhelming bipartisan support indicates that patent trolls have so far been unsuccessful in their efforts to create their own lobbying machine capable of standing up to the lobbying muscle of big tech firms.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.