Congress Takes Aim at 'Patent Trolls' With SHIELD Act

, Corporate Counsel


The bi-partisan Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act would require non-practicing entities (aka, "patent trolls") to pay defendants' legal costs if the suit is unsuccessful.

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What's being said

  • Defendant

    Pity they limit this to suits filed after the act, it's no protection for current victims, and is going to precipitate an avalanche of new suits in the meantime.

    More generally, the entire patent system is broken. If the computer is outside America, US patents do not apply (and, for that matter, lawsuits - and that's not starting on the fact that most foreigners already have a "looser pays" legal system anyhow), so every new USA patent issued is another nail in the coffin for American jobs and business. Seriously - any business trading online would need a terminal death-wish to want to use any American resources in these times!

    The whole point of patents was for inventors to teach people how to use their inventions, and to be rewarded for it. That entire idea simply does not work in a modern world with 7bn people, nor with the modern pace of the internet and the 5-to-10 year patent processing delays, and nor with business methods and software patents at all generally. If that wasn't bad enough, the unlimited appeal process through the USPTO basically means that anyone can patent anything, no matter how obvious - they just need to pester the examiner long enough until he gives in; there is simply no way modern examiners can comprehend what is or isn't "obvious", and they have no incentive to deny patents, and every incentive to approve them...

  • Lulaine

    This is an interesting piece of legislation, the practice should be done away with but even in a bad practice as trolling is, there are some legitimate claims. People make the same mistake with tort reform when there are really legit cases that would never be heard or even acted on if the really radical types of tort reform were allowed to become law.

  • staff

    "patent troll" issue plaguing small technology companies...

    That's a red herring. Rather, what this bill and the AIA patent bill were all about was shielding large invention thieves from small would be competitors.

    Just because they call it "reform" doesn't mean it is.

    "patent reform"...America Invents Act, vers 2.0, 3.0...

    “This is not a patent reform bill” Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) complained, despite other democrats praising the overhaul. “This is a big corporation patent giveaway that tramples on the right of small inventors.”

    Senator Cantwell is right. Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is. The agents of banks, huge multinationals, and China are at it again trying to brain wash and bankrupt America.

    They should have called these bills the America STOPS Inventing Act or ASIA, because that’s where they’re sending all our jobs.

    The patent bill (vers 2, 3, etc) is nothing less than another monumental federal giveaway for banks, huge multinationals, and China and an off shoring job killing nightmare for America. Even the leading patent expert in China has stated the bill will help them steal our inventions. Congress passed it and Obama signed it. Who are they working for??

    “Patent troll”

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay or stop”. This is just dissembling by large infringers and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see

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