The White House is set to propose five executive actions and seven changes to legislation that will limit how patents can be abused by “trolls.”
The moves should make it harder for lawsuits to be brought by shell companies that hide the identity of the real patent owner, and also limit the filing of patents that are too broad in scope. The administration also wants to limit the participation of the International Trade Commission in patent cases.
Patent abuse, patent trolling, and spurious lawsuits have become more common in recent years and the Wall Street Journal notes that in February the president even expressed distaste at patent-wielding firms that don’t actually manufacture anything. Entrepreneurs have been pressuring the government to act, and insurance agencies have determined that the situation is bad enough that they can make money selling patent insurance.
Perhaps the highest profile patent case in the U.S. is the ongoing Apple versus Samsung suit, which still has many months left to run. Samsung has decided to set up a U.S.-based patent office to protect its own IP interests.