Tell Your Representative to Vote for the Innovation Act
This week, the United States House of Representatives will vote on the Innovation Act of 2013 (H.R. 3309), the best troll-killing bill we’ve seen yet. The Innovation Act will make life harder for the trolls by:
- making it easier and cheaper to fight against the trolls in court
- requiring trolls to make their cases for infringement publicly and with specifics
- protecting end users and consumers when they face suits from patent trolls
This bill has bipartisan support, and the Judiciary Committee sent to it to the House floor with overwhelming approval. But most elected officials do not understand how dramatically trolls threaten the American innovation economy. Jobs are lost, companies shuttered, and they cost our country $29 billion dollars per year.
Patent trolls buy up patents and use them offensively against unsuspecting businesses—without creating or selling anything themselves. Making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll’s favorite move. Most defendants choose to settle because patent litigation is risky and expensive—and trolls offer settlement amounts that, although still incredibly burdensome, are far cheaper than a lawsuit. Businesses who are targeted—including cafés running Wi-Fi, app developers, offices using scanners, and podcasters—lose both time and money, and innovation suffers.
Your call right now is vitally important.
Dial the number above, you’ll be prompted for your zip code, and you will be connected to your Congressperson. Urge your representative to take a stand against patent trolls and vote for the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) this week.
- “Hello. I am one of your constituents, and I am calling you in support of H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act. The Innovation Act goes a long way to fight patent trolls, bad actors who are taking advantage of the patent system and are a drain on our economy. Please vote in favor of the Innovation Act this week.”
- If you’d like, mention a few words on why you support legislation combating trolls (Has a troll harmed your business? Another business in your district? Do you worry about the threat of patent trolls?)
- After your call, be sure to share this page on Twitter, on Facebook, and on other social networks.
Don’t want to give a call? You can email your representative using EFF’s Action Center.
The Innovation Act of 2013, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition, offers a host of fixes to the problem of patent trolls—whose abusive litigation has exploded in recent years, putting a drain on our innovation economy and harming innocent end users.
The bill is up for a floor vote in the House. Tell your member of Congress to support the Innovation Act.
Here’s what the bill does:
- Heightened Pleading: The bill requires patent holders to provide basic details (such as which patents and claims are at issue, as well as what products allegedly infringe and how) when it files a lawsuit.
- Fee shifting: The bill allows for a court to require the loser in a patent case to pay the winning side’s fees and costs. This makes it harder for trolls to use the extraordinary expense of patent litigation to force a settlement.
- Transparency: The bill includes strong language requiring patent trolls to reveal the parties that would actually benefit from the litigation (called the real party in interest). Also, if the plaintiff is a shell-company patent troll, the defendant could require the real party in interest to join the litigation, forcing them to pay up if the patent troll can’t or won’t pay.
- Staying customer suits: The bill requires courts to stay patent litigation against customers (such as a café using an off-the-shelf router to provide Wi-Fi) when there is parallel litigation against the manufacturer.
- Discovery reform: The bill shuts down expensive and often harassing discovery until the court has interpreted the patent, making it easier for defendants to dispose of frivolous cases early before the legal fees and court costs really add up.
The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Howard Coble (R-NC), Peter Defazio (D-OR), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Tom Marino (R-PA), and George Holding (R-GA).
Help stop patent trolls from gaming the system. Send a message to your representatives asking them to support the Innovation Act of 2013.
More info from Harvard Journal of Law and Technology :
Patently-O, Info World, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) provide an overview of the legislation and comment on its significance. The American Intellectual Property Law Association has summarized each section of the bill. Patent Docs and The Software Alliance voice concerns.