A new bill (H.R.
3309) was introduced entitled The
Innovation Act of 2013. The bill is cosponsored by Howard Coble (R-N.C.)
the chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual
Property as well as several other Representatives.
The Bill is designed to target abusive behavior rather
than specific entities to prevent individuals from taking advantage of gaps in
the system. At the same time the bill will not limit legitimate patent
litigation. Several industry leaders have expressed their support for the bill
Shapiro the president of the Consumer Electronics Association.
The bill provides for:
- A heightened pleading requirement that requires identification
of significantly more information than presently for all infringement actions
including [§ 281A]
- Increased fees (potentially up to a full
indemnity for all costs of the action) [§ 285]
- Joinder of interested parties where it is
apparent that the person asserting their claim is solely interested in the
patent for litigation purposes [§ 285(1)]
- Heightened discovery where it may lead to timely
resolution of actions [§ 299A]
- Notice of present ownership of the patents as
well as all other interests held in the patent including assignees, licensees,
sublicensees, or any other entity that may have a financial interest in the
patent or patents [amendments to Section 290 of title 35 USC]
- Resources will be made available to educate
small business and address concerns arising from patent infringement [SEC. 7].
This includes creating a location on the USPTO website that will serve to
provide notice to the public of all patent cases brought before the Federal
court and will link to each patent at issue in the case.
The bill targets a long identified problem in patent law
– non-practicing entities utilizing threat of lawsuit to extort settlements
from legitimate business. To address this the House of Representatives has
proposed a bill that would increase the incentive for businesses to fight
frivolous or vexatious litigation since their costs would be covered on a full
indemnity basis. Additionally non-practicing entities would no longer be able
to fragment litigation against single parties but instead be forced to face all interested parties via the joinder
amendments. The heightened discovery, ownership disclosure, and pleading
requirements will allow judicial intervention at a much earlier stage than
traditionally allowed and will facilitate implementation of the sections
specifically targeted at non practicing entities.