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Energy

Measure Takes Aim At ‘Patent Trolls’

by Glenn Hess
May 4, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 18

Reviving a push for reform that stalled last year, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced bipartisan legislation last week that would crack down on “patent trolls.” The bill is aimed at combating what some businesses say is growing abuse of litigation by companies that buy patent portfolios for the sole purpose of trying to extract fees and financial settlements from alleged infringers. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), committee chairman and one of the bill’s cosponsors, says the panel will vote on the measure by late May. The legislation was quickly praised by pro-reform groups, including the recently formed United for Patent Reform, whose members include Google, Facebook, telecom giants, and retail lobbying groups. The Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade association, says the bill includes “noticeable improvements” over an anti-patent-troll measure (H.R. 9) pending in the House of Representatives. But the group says the Senate proposal still needs to better protect the ability of biotech companies to assert their intellectual property rights.

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