Senate Judiciary Committee Member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would prevent “patent trolls” from purchasing wide-ranging patents in order to sue businesses for infringement.
The Patent Litigation Integrity Act would prevent the increasing number of patent trolls who have forced businesses to settle lawsuits or face costly legal battles to prove they didn’t infringe on a patent.
The measure would afford more latitude for judges to shift the costs of litigation to patent trolls. It would also allow defendants to request a bond at the onset to assure the individual threatening legal action can afford the legal costs if the defendant wins the trial.
“Patent trolls are a drain on the innovation in our country and their practices need to end,” Hatch said. “Many small businesses in Utah and throughout the country simply don’t have the resources to fight back against the predators in our patent system, and my bill gives them adequate resources to fight back. Fee shifting without the option to seek a bond is like writing a check on an empty account, and that’s why it’s important to include both in any legislation dealing with patent trolls.”
Hatch called on the Senate to “act soon” on the legislation in order to prevent patent trolls from curbing innovation and weakening the national economy.