WASHINGTON, July 22 Two U.S. lawmakers
introduced legislation on Monday to give companies another tool
to fight lawsuits brought by companies that specialize in patent
Their bill would broaden the power of the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office to review patents and verify that they should
have been granted.
Currently, the patent office can review business method
patents related to financial services more aggressively than
The bill - proposed by California Representatives Darrell
Issa, a Republican, and Judy Chu, a Democrat - would expand that
authority to include all business method patents, many of which
are software patents that are frequently used by firms, often
derided as "patent trolls," to file infringement lawsuits.
The bill is similar to one introduced in May by Senator
Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat. Action has not yet been
taken on Schumer's bill.
Cisco Systems Inc, Apple Inc, Google Inc
and other technology powerhouses have been pushing for
legislation that would reduce the number of times each year that
they are sued for infringement by a "non-practicing entity," a
company that licenses patents as its business. Google has
estimated the cost of such litigation to the U.S. economy at $30
billion a year.
The White House in June urged Congress to take steps to curb
lawsuits by firms that make or sell nothing but specialize in
suing others for patent infringement, and there are other
proposals circulating on Capitol Hill.
Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and
Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, have
released a discussion draft of a bill aimed at stopping
frivolous patent litigation.
And Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, has
introduced legislation aimed at hurting so-called trolls by
allowing judges to force such firms to pay the legal fees of
companies they unsuccessfully sue.