Michelle Lee gives comments on the Innovation Act
TheHill discusses comments by Director Michelle Lee on the Innovation Act of
“Upon careful consideration of these issues, and in light of the changes that have happened in the patent system, the USPTO believes that legislation to curtail abusive patent litigation is necessary and appropriate at this time,” she [Lee] said.
Lee expressed general support for provisions of the bill that would increase pleading requirements and require the losing party of abusive litigation to pay the winner’s legal fees, as well as another provision called customer stay that would delay litigation against a seller of a product until a lawsuit against the manufacturer is finished.
She did, however, make small suggestions on the customer stay, fee-shifting provision and discovery provisions. On the fee-shifting provision, Lee said the winning party should “bear the burden of demonstrating that it is entitled to such an award.”
The “joinder provision” that Lee recommended tweaking has been a cause of concern with critics of the bill, along with the fee-shifting provision.
Those two provisions are meant to work hand in hand, allowing courts to go after a patent troll’s parent company or other interested parties if it is not able to pay the court fees resulting from a losing lawsuit.
Lee said it is important to clarify who would be on the hook. At the moment, she said, it is unclear if that liability would extend to either the inventor or passive investors that do not have authority over litigation.
“While there seems to be general agreement on these principles, implementing them through legislation is difficult,” she said.