Monday, March 03, 2014

Supreme Court hears oral arguments on patent trolls, while Senate ponders House Innovation Act and proposes transparency in demand letters

Erik Mershon has an important story in Politco, Feb. 27, 2014, “’Patent Trolls’ Draw High Court Scrutiny”, p. 6.  The article does not seem to be online yet.
Ju stices at the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Feb. 26 in “Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness” and then “Highmark Alliance v. Allcare Management Systems”.  The Court reportedly was skeptical about questioning the DC Federal Circuit on where to draw the line on requiring losers to pay in the case of seemingly frivolous litigation. The Federal Circuit, said to be a guru in patent law, has said that current law requires fee-shifting only in exceptional cases of gross abuse or bad faith.  The justices said it could be difficult for them to second guess the Federal Circuit’s judgment on what is exceptional.
The Senate Bill for “Targeting Patent Trolls” is reportedly on fast track, with the House having passed the Innovation Act, HR 3309 in December., 325-91, with a report here
There are many bills, identified on the website Patent Progress, here.  Some of them overlap.  The most important Senate bill seems to be the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, S1720.  

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