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White House takes on patent trolls with legislative proposals and executive orders

It’s rare for the executive branch to try to solve problems with the legal system

The Obama administration took on the patent troll problem on Tuesday when it released a package of legislative recommendations and executive orders.

Patent trolls, or non-practicing entities, firms that buy up patents just to make money off them by suing for infringement or demanding licensing fees, have been a bane to intellectual property-holding companies for some time now. Lobbying efforts by industries including the financial and technology sectors paid off with the announcement of the White House’s proposals. According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s rare that an administration of either party would step in to address problems with the legal system.

Experts told the Wall Street Journal that the executive orders likely won’t do much—it’s up to Congress to take on the proposals for legislation and make them a reality. For example, one of the White House’s suggestions was a fee-shifting provision that would allow judges to force plaintiffs who file “abusive” infringement lawsuits to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees.

However, some people worry that such proposals could unintentionally hurt innovators like universities, which license their patents instead of manufacturing their own inventions.


Read more about patent trolls on InsideCounsel:

This American Life takes on patent trolls … again

Vermont sues patent troll for violating state laws

Microsoft launches patent tracking system that could foil trolls

In-house counsel urge lawmakers to quell patent trolls with antitrust laws

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