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IT’S SUMMERTIME – PATENT POOLS BECKON AS PATENT TROLLING DEBATE HEATS UP

As noted earlier on the Malloy & Malloy IP Blog, even the White House has recently joined the national discussion on what many perceive as increasingly widespread and over-aggressive tactics by “patent trolls.” Patent trolls, which are less pejoratively known as patent assertion entities (PAEs) or non-practicing entities (NPEs), are persons or companies who legitimately obtain patent rights and then enforce the patents against alleged infringers, without actually making or using the patented inventions themselves (which is perfectly legal). There has traditionally not been a great degree of public concern about such practices other than by those on the receiving end of patent enforcements, although public sentiment has been building over the past several years in reaction to a substantial increase in more aggressive activities of this kind. 

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NEW LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS EXCESSIVE PATENT TROLLING

As noted earlier on the Malloy & Malloy IP Blog, a national discussion has emerged on what many perceive as increasingly widespread and over-aggressive tactics by “patent trolls.” Patent trolls, which are less pejoratively known as patent assertion entities (PAEs) or non-practicing entities (NPEs), are persons or companies who legitimately obtain patent rights and then enforce the patents against alleged infringers, without actually making or using the patented inventions themselves (which is perfectly legal).

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Nebraska Attorney General Bars Notorious “Patent Troll” Firm From Bringing Patent Suit

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is facing a Federal Court challenge to his office’s cease-and-desist order barring Farney Daniels, a firm he identified as notorious for representing “patent trolls”, from brining a patent suit against a Nebraska based defendant.  The primary issue is what, if any, roll or authority the Attorney General’s Office has in regulating patent infringement actions, including the types of suits that can be brought and/or the law firms that can bring them.  It appears that the Attorney General is not backing down, and I am sure that his counterparts in numerous other states are paying close attention, especially as suits by “Patent Trolls” contiue to grow in both number and disfavor. For more read here.

Patent Legislative Forecast: Innovation Act of 2013

In an all-too-rare showing of bipartisan cooperation, ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives came together in support of a patent reform bill introduced Monday by Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.

Titled the “Innovation Act,” (H.R. 3309) the bill proposes some significant changes to the way patents would be procured and enforced.

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Patent Troll Bill Back in Congress

 Patent Reform is back in Congress and this time it is House Judiciary Bob Goodlatte, who will be reintroducing the legislation dedicated to reduce “patent trolling.” Patent trolling, as it is colloquially known, is a strategy typically employed to enforce patent rights owned by non-practicing (emphasis added) entities against accused infringers in attempts to collect lost royalties and/or licensing fees.  

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Florida’s 2015 Patent Troll Prevention Act Signed into Law

Nine states, including Florida, have recently enacted “anti-patent troll” legislation in 2015, joining the seventeen states that passed similar legislation last year in 2014.  Florida’s HB 439 ch. 501 part VII (“Patent Troll Prevention Act”), enacted in the 2015 session, prohibits bad faith assertions of patent infringement from being made, and provides a number of factors that allow a court to consider whether an allegation was made in bad faith.  A determination of bad faith includes damages and reasonable attorney fees.

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