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New patent troll bill is a legislative win for Overstock.com

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December 10, 2013

TC Lobbying team members Ken Salomon, Haley Akins and Jim Burger, with substantive advice from Chicago intellectual property partner Michael Parks, notched a major legislative victory last week for Overstock.com. On December 5, the House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 325 to 91. The Innovation Act is intended to curtail abusive litigation by patent trolls.

Among other provisions that the Lobbying and Policy group worked on for Overstock is a section that enables customers sued by trolls to seek a stay of the suit pending disposition of litigation between the troll and the manufacturer. This “Customer Suit Exception,” benefits end-use consumers frequently targeted by non-practicing entities, including restaurant and retail businesses that offer Wi-Fi. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has praised this portion of the bill as giving “important breathing room to everyday consumers who find themselves on the receiving end of patent litigation.”

Another of the Act's provisions that Overstock lobbied for imposes a “loser pay” or fee shifting obligation to discourage frivolous suits.

The focus now turns to the Senate, where bills are pending. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a December 17 hearing on the bills.