The House passed the Innovation Act, a patent reform bill.
The measure, sponsored by Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, is designed to rein-in so-called patent trolls, companies that buy up patents with the intention of suing end-users of technology which may or may not be related to the patents.
The issue is of interest to radio. Several broadcast groups have now been sued for alleged patent infringement over music automation and storage. More recently, auto makers found themselves sued over HD Radio technology installed in the entertainment systems of cars.
H.R. 3309 aims to require such lawsuits to be more specific about what the supposed infringement is and clarify the nature of the company behind such a lawsuit, among other things. The act allows technology vendors to step in and fight lawsuits on behalf of their customers as well as make it easier for a defendant to recover the cost of defending against an unsuccessful patent suit.
CEA President/CEO Gary Shapiro praised the House action, called the bill “the most important technology legislation of 2013.”
“Patent trolling is garden-variety extortion by another name, and we are one step closer to shutting it down,” said Shapiro. “I applaud today’s vote to end frivolous patent litigation that is suppressing innovation, stifling economic growth and costing Americans tens of billions of dollars.”
The measure now goes to the Senate.