Support for ‘patent troll’ legislation builds | Armonk Real Estate

A push for legislation cracking down on so-called “patent trolls” is gathering steam on Capitol Hill, potentially spelling relief for many businesses, including those in the real estate industry.

Last week, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., introduced the “Patent Litigation and Innovation Act of 2013″ (H.R. 2639) in the House, which is related to the “Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013″ (S. 1013) introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in May.

The White House has also issued a series of legislative recommendations and executive actions to tackle the issue. The executive actions will require patent applicants and owners to disclose the true owner of a patent, train patent examiners to flag overly broad patent applications, and offer a website educating consumers and small-business owners about what to do if they are targeted, among other things.

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez last month urged the commission to use its authority to collect more comprehensive information about the business models and scope of “patent assertion entities” — the formal name given to companies that are focused primarily on purchasing and asserting patent claims against companies with products currently on the market.

“These entities are driving the increase in patent litigation and targeting firms in a growing slice of the economy,” Ramirez said. Patent trolls have moved beyond their original primary targets — information technology firms — and are going after financial services providers and retailers, she said.

“Even hotels and coffee shops are not immune,” Ramirez said, and the costs to consumers “appear increasingly tangible and direct.”

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