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Bill Would Force Patent Trolls To Pay Defendants' Legal Bills 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up-sucker dept.
First time accepted submitter TrueSatan writes "With support from the EFF's Defend Freedom Project two Republican congressmen seek to introduce a bill called the 'Shield Act' which, if passed, would enable judges to award costs to defendants if they are found to be the victims of frivolous patent litigation. From the article: 'A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives attempts to deter frivolous patent litigation by forcing unsuccessful patent plaintiffs to cover defendants' legal costs. Introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act is limited to patents related to computer hardware and software.'"
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Bill Would Force Patent Trolls To Pay Defendants' Legal Bills

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  • Garunteed Backfire (Score:4, Informative)

    by dywolf (2673597) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:14AM (#40854463)

    Now instead of no-name or proxy companies holding giants hostage, the giants themselves will become the hostage takers, violating patents left and right, and daring any little guy patent holders to try, just try, to take em to court. Then when the giant outspends I mean wins the court case, the lil guy is now really fookered cause he had to the giant's lawyer bill for its high profile team of super expensive attorneys.....

    Result: no lil guy will ever take on a giant that violates his patents, and when he contacts the company for any kind of settlement or sale offer, they'll just brush him off.

    Ya this is a great idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:15AM (#40854467)

    Microsoft has mostly used their patents defensively so I don't think they've included in this

    True but their proxy companies would probably go down faster with this bill.

    , nor Apple.

    What the fuck are you smoking? Did you miss the whole Samsung shitfest?

    Google, on the other hand, will be on hot waters especially with the recent purchase of Motorola Mobility.

    Er, this isn't a retroactive bill ... not to mention legal costs (while big numbers to us) don't mean a whole lot to a company like Google. $40 million in lawyer fees? Drop in the bucket.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:17AM (#40854495)

    representative

  • by Compulawyer (318018) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @07:18AM (#40854503)

    Section 285 of the Patent Act of 1952 (35 U.S.C. 285) already permits judges to declare patent cases to be "exceptional" and award appropriate relief. From the defendant's perspective, a case can be declared exceptional if the plaintiff cannot show that at least one claim of the patent in suit covers the device or process accused of infringing the patent. This section is regularly used by defendants to obtain attorneys fees and costs.

    Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 1927 of Title 28 of the U.S. Code also provides bases for the same relief.

    The problem with patent trolls is not the inability of defendants to get costs. It is that trolls often wage licensing campaigns by bringing highly questionable claims but set the costs of licenses below the cost to defend an action in court. Companies typically choose to go the economical route and take a license.

  • Might not help (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeti (105266) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @08:07AM (#40854917) Homepage

    Keep in mind that IP Ventures is said to use between 1600 and 1800 proxy companies for suing. Those companies are formally independent of IP Ventures, but the filings indicate that IP Ventures has a financial interest in the outcome (they get their share). If the legislation is not carefully crafted, the proxy companies can just go bankrupt and sell the patent(s) back to IP Ventures.

    Source: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack/ [thisamericanlife.org]

  • by pdabbadabba (720526) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:03AM (#40855535) Homepage

    A representative is a type of congressman; a congressman can be either a representative (i.e., a congressman sitting in the House of Representatives) or a senator (a congressman who sits in the Senate).

  • Shell companies. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:12AM (#40855653) Homepage Journal

    A truly *good* shell company will only have the rights to ONE patent, and only enough money assigned to it to feed the lawyers for the patent suit itself.

    There's deeper rules that try to prevent this sort of stuff, but it's complicated to work through. If I understand it right today, in many ways companies that are wholly(or mostly wholly) owned by another company are considered part of that company.

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