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Strong Language on Pleadings Must Be Included in Patent Litigation Reform

Any successful legislative initiative to rein in patent trolls would absolutely need to include strong legislative language requiring plaintiffs to identify each claim that is alleged to be infringed. The United for Patent Reform coalition strongly supports efforts to insure that such language is a part of any bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee during today’s markup of H.R. 9, the Innovation Act.


Statement of United for Patent Reform

WASHINGTON – Any successful legislative initiative to rein in patent trolls would absolutely need to include strong legislative language requiring plaintiffs to identify each claim that is alleged to be infringed. The United for Patent Reform coalition strongly supports efforts to insure that such language is a part of any bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee during today’s markup of H.R. 9, the Innovation Act.

“The tens of thousands of businesses who have been shaken down by patent trolls might have had a fighting chance if they even knew what it was they were accused of infringing,” said Beth Provenzano, vice president of the National Retail Federation and co-­chair of United for Patent Reform. “But in most cases, patent trolls intentionally provide as little information as possible to drive up defendant’s legal costs and create a perverse incentive for defendants to settle even the most frivolous cases.”

The retail storeowners, restaurateurs, service station and convenience store owners, individual Realtors® and home builders, startups, tech innovators and thousands of others who make up the United for Patent Reform coalition would support the addition, by Amendment or otherwise, of a provision during today’s markup making patent litigation more efficient by letting the accused infringer and the court know which claims the patent holder believes have been infringed. That’s critical, because under patent law, an accused infringer is liable if it infringes any claim in a patent. So an accused infringer needs to develop defenses to every claim alleged to be infringed, by, for example, looking for prior art that might invalidate each of those claims.

“Any meaningful patent litigation reform bill absolutely must include a strong proving provision on pleadings to level the playing field between plaintiffs and defendants,” Provenzano said. “Adding this provision will in no way harm patent holders.”

Diligent parties alleging infringement will not be harmed by this amendment because, in most cases, if a party has performed the proper pre-­suit investigation, it will know which claims it thinks are infringed and will not have trouble identifying them. Where the information necessary for identifying each claim alleged to be infringed is not readily accessible after a reasonable inquiry, the bill provides that the required information can be generally described. And if the patent holder determines, after filing its initial complaint, that it has additional claims to assert, it can seek to amend its complaint.

United for Patent Reform would urge members of the House Judiciary Committee to SUPPORT any amendment that would strengthen pleading requirements.

For media inquiries, contact Beau Phillips at beau@resetpa.com or (202) 368- 9033.

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United for Patent Reform is a broad coalition of diverse American businesses—from national realty, construction, and technology businesses to Main Street retail shops, hotels, grocers, convenience stores, and restaurants—pursuing comprehensive solutions to abusive patent litigation. For more information, visit www.UnitedforPatentReform.com and follow us on Twitter at @U4PatentReform.

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