Patent trolls that lose in court would be required to pay the full legal costs of accused infringers under legislation introduced Wednesday that attorneys say is more likely to discourage frivolous litigation and gain support from lawmakers than a similar bill introduced last year. The Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act of 2013, or Shield Act, defines a troll as a patent owner who did not do the inventing behind the patent and does not exploit it by making a product. A patent owner that fits those criteria and loses an infringement case would be on the hook for its opponents' costs under the bill.
By making clear that the law applies only to companies that buy patents to assert in litigation, the new bill is a marked improvement, according to Intellectual Property Partner David Donoghue, who said it would ward off nonpracticing entities with weak patent suits. "I think it's far better than the first version in that it's more concrete," Mr. Donoghue said. "It targets more closely what it is designed to target."
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