WASHINGTON DC - The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently voted to approve H.R. 2045, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act, by a vote of 30 to 22. Authored by Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), the TROL Act was designed to help stop the practice of abusive patent demand letters while protecting the rights of legitimate patent holders to protect their intellectual property.
The TROL Act increases transparency and accountability in patent demand letters so businesses can weed out deceptive letters. The Act also establishes a national standard for the enforcement of abusive patent demand letters and allows the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general to levy fines on bad actors.
"This legislation takes on a costly scam that, by many accounts, continues to worsen," said Burgess. "The very real problem of abusive patent demand letters compels us to find a solution expressly designed to enable enforcement that's free of constitutional setbacks." To learn more about the TROL Act, click here.
This legislation is complemented by a patchwork of state legislation that was intended to accomplish similar goals. As of 2014, a significant number of states had proposed or passed measures to confront patent trolling. In 2015, Indiana HB 1102 was introduced. The Bill:
• Prohibits a person from asserting a claim of patent infringement in bad faith;
• Provides that a court may, upon motion, require a person to post a bond if the target establishes a reasonable likelihood that the person has made an assertion of patent infringement in bad faith;
• Establishes remedies and damages; and
• Exempts certain: (1) approved postsecondary educational institutions; (2) technology transfer organizations owned by or affiliated with approved postsecondary educational institutions; and (3) licensees holding patents from postsecondary educational institutions or technology transfer organizations owned by or affiliated with postsecondary educational institutions; from the provisions regarding bad faith assertions of patent infringement.