Reuters reports that the US House of Representatives intellectual property sub-committee has begun the process of reviewing the US Patent Act. One of the primary objectives is to stop patent trolls – small companies that obtain patents of questionable validity and then sue the makers of rival products, often holding up the entry of valuable innovations on to the market. The likely proposed amendments include:
* making it harder for judges to stop disputed products coming to market
* the introduction of a nine month period following registration and the bringing of an infringement action, during which the USPTO can be asked to review the validity of the patent
* making it easier for third parties to present evidence of lack of novelty
A bill is expected by the end of the month but already universities and small businesses have argued that it will be more difficult for them to bring court cases to enforce their patents.
Patent trolls – not a pretty sightThe IPKat says that this goes to show that it’s not just big business that is the beneficiary of strong IPRs.
Beware the trolls here, here and here