(Via Gigaom.com) The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Innovation Act, a bill to reform an American patent system now plagued by a glut of low quality patents and by “patent-trolls,” which are shell companies that make a business of filing nuisance lawsuits against productive businesses.
While the Innovation Act may kill off some of the more egregious trolls, it does not, unfortunately address the root cause of the patent mess: too many low-quality patents.
An earlier version of the bill contained a provision that would let companies challenge suspicious “business method” patents — many of which cover basic software practices — at the Patent Office, but a powerful lobby of old guard firms (notably Microsoft and IBM) lobbied to crush that part of the law.
As a result, there is still no efficient way to challenge the huge number of bad patents that are the life-blood for the big trolls like Intellectual Ventures. As (patent law professor Brian) Love explains, this type of company looks for “old, broad patents–patents that mostly shouldn’t have issued in the first place–that it can enforce in high-stakes suits against large companies selling successful products.”
Read the full story: House passes Innovation Act 325-91: a small solution to a big patent problem (Gigaom.com)