Proposed Innovation Act would target abuse of patent litigation

Q&A with Zachary Oubre

published in The Oklahoman | November 15, 2013

Intellectual property lawyer Zach Oubre was featured in a Q&A by The Oklahoman about the Innovation Act (HR 3309), a proposed new federal law targeting patent litigation abuse, particularly lawsuits brought by nonpracticing entities (NPEs).

Patent litigation has increased dramatically over the past 15 years, and many blame NPEs and “patent trolls,” in particular, for much of that increase. NPEs are companies that do not manufacture goods or provide services based on the patents in question, but that attempt to collect licensing fees by enforcing patent rights against other companies.

“Due to the high cost of litigation defense, many businesses are forced to settle these suits, even if there is a low likelihood that the NPE’s claims would be successful,” said Oubre. According to one study, it is estimated that defending businesses spent $29 billion in legal and licensing fees in 2011 alone.

Oubre explained how the proposed law is designed to reduce the number of patent infringement lawsuits filed; reduce the overall cost of litigation, particularly in the discovery phase; increase transparency by requiring plaintiffs to disclose all entities with a financial interest in the lawsuit; and allow prevailing defendants the opportunity to recover attorneys fees if the decide to litigate rather than settle.