WASHINGTON Feb 27 Two U.S. Congressmen
introduced a bill on Wednesday that would penalize companies
that file frivolous patent infringement lawsuits, derided by
critics as "patent trolls."
Representatives Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, and Jason
Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, sponsored the bill, which
would ensure a company bringing a frivolous patent lawsuit would
pay all the costs and attorney fees associated with the case.
"Patent trolls drained an estimated $29 billion from
American innovators and companies in 2011," said DeFazio in a
statement. "They pad their pockets by buying patents on products
they didn't create and then suing companies from every industry
Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, the Business
Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry
Association and the Consumer Electronics Association all
supported the proposed legislation.
Suzanne Michel, Google's senior patent counsel, said the
search company supported the bill and noted that many of the
lawsuits claim infringement of controversial software patents.
"Suits brought by trolls have quadrupled since 2005. They
now account for 60 percent of all patent litigation," said
Michel in a blog post. "The trolls' weapons of choice - used in
85 percent of their suits - are software patents, many of which
are vague, over broad and invalid."
There is no Senate companion bill at this point for the
House of Representatives action.