Schumer Bill Would Allow PTO To Review “Patent Troll” Suits Before Filing In District Court

May 1st, 2013

I can’t find the text of the proposed bill, but Techcrunch reports that Schumer is proposing a bill that would allow the PTO a month to sniff out patent troll suits:

Today, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is expected to announce legislation that looks to snuff out patent suits brought by these companies in their early stages, by sending the suits to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for vetting before they hit the courts.

This could not only help snuff out bogus suits, but it could also highlight which patents may be bogus as well, creating a framework for preventing their use in subsequent suits.

What’s interesting is that the bill proposes a new process by which all patent cases will get vetted by the USPTO — not just the “extortion” (his word) brought by trolls. “This will apple to all patent cases, but if you have a legitimate case it will go forward in a month. It just eliminates all the frivolous suits. We think it’s the best solution.”

There are other solutions being suggested for how to deal with the overrun tech patent lawsuit situation. Another suggestion has been for the losers in the cases to cover legal costs for both parties. The idea is that this would be a deterrent for those looking just for a financial return, but Schumer said he believes this would get quashed by the trial lawyer lobby.

“Even if you have to pick up the court costs, you might still be scared into settling because it could take years before a court makes a determination,” he noted. “We would have it before it goes to court and discovery stage.”

This bill is a variation on another piece of legislation that Schumer pushed through Congress successfully in 2011. That update, called the Schumer-Kyl program, was to the America Invents Act and specifically concerned patents in the financial services industry. So far the USPTO has examined some 20 patent cases as part of that patent review program.

Stay tuned.