Intellectual Property

Patent-Relief Legislation Proposed

Bill would limit patent lawsuits and impose costs on nuisance-plaintiffs

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Finally, a moment of sanity. Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio, along with co-sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz, introduced legislation (HR 6245) in the House of Representatives that would actually help make the patent system work better for innovators and innovation, and make life more difficult for patent trolls.

We have written time and again about just how broken the system is and how, thus far, the courts and Congress have failed to fix it. Which makes us even more excited about the new bill, the Saving High-

Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes ("SHEILD") Act. The idea behind the SHIELD Act is simple: if you sue someone, you better have a reasonable and good-faith belief that you are entitled to relief.

In other words, a plaintiff needs to believe that a defendant actually infringes a valid patent before it sues. If it doesn't, that plaintiff could be on the hook for the costs of litigation and for the winning party's attorneys' fees (which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases).