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Obama administration backs patent troll bill, House vote set for this week

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White House (Flickr CC)
White House (Flickr CC)

The White House has been trying to crack down on patent trolls, and today it's come out in support of a House bill that would begin to do just that. The bill, Representative Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) Innovation Act, has passed through the House Judiciary Committee and will be put up to a vote by the entire House of Representatives either this Wednesday or Thursday. Having seen strong, bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee, the Innovation Act appears to have a shot at passing later this week.

The act could make patent fights cheaper

The Innovation Act aims to make it easier for businesses to fight back against patent trolls, which generally don't produce any products of their own and instead use patents to sue other companies. Under the act, the relevant patents, products, and demands would all have to be made more clear when a business initiates legal action. It would also make fighting patent lawsuits less expensive and allow defendants that win a case to potentially recover their court costs. A companion bill is currently in the works in the Senate too, which held a Commerce Committee hearing on the matter last month.

The White House is happy to see that many patent reform measures that it recommended back in June have made their way into the Innovation Act, including broader disclosures and measures to make the process less expensive. "The bill would improve incentives for future innovation while protecting the overall integrity of the patent system," the White House writes in a statement. Though the administration has some concerns with the law as written and lists a few possible changes, it appears to broadly support the act's passage as it currently stands. It's been a long road toward patent reform, and while some businesses have voiced concern that the Innovation Act will harm intellectual property rights, the measure come after years of pleas for change by those under fire from trolls.