There is big news in the ongoing battle against patent trolls. By a vote of 325-91, the House of Representatives approved the Innovation Act, spearheaded by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.).
The Innovation Act is one of several bills proposed in Congress this session that are meant to address the patent-troll problem. The bill, which was co-authored by Republicans and Democrats, included several key elements that are intended to lessen the power of non-practicing entities.
The bill would call for more specificity in patent lawsuits, make patent ownership more transparent, include a fee-shifting provision, delay discovery and work to protect downstream users. The current version of the bill does not include a covered business method provision, which could serve to decrease the number of weak patents that are issued.
Many companies have come out in support of the bill, including technology giants like Google and Microsoft. But business in the retail, hospitality, travel and other industries have also expressed their support of the Innovation Act as well.
One amendment to the bill was adopted in today’s vote. That amendment was from Rep. Jared Polis (D., Colo.) and it would strengthen the bill’s requirements for patent holders to disclose the parent companies that ultimately own the patent.
While some Representatives opposed the bill on the grounds that it would put an undue burden on patent holders, it passed by a wide margin with bipartisan support.
Next, the Senate will act on the bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the topic on Dec. 17, and likely pass a modified version of it. President Obama has previously called for patent reform, so he is likely to sign into law whatever bill crosses his desk.
For more on the patent troll problem, check out the following: