House Approves Innovation Act

Cable operators Thursday were celebrating House passage of the Innovation Act of 2013 (HR 3309), the patent reform bill that was introduced last month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), targeted at so-called patent trolls.

Cable operators have celebrated and pledged to help get it passed. "U.S. House approval of the Innovation Act sends a strong message that abusive patent lawsuits are causing serious harm to our nation’s economy and need to be stopped," said Michael Powell, president, National Cable & Telecommunications Association in a statement. "We applaud the leadership of Chairman Goodlatte in sheparding the legislation through the House and urge the Senate to quickly take up and approve this important measure.”

The bill is aimed at preventing "individuals from taking advantage of gaps in the system to engage in litigation extortion" and not to discourage "valid" patent litigation. Goodlatte's office said the bill does not "diminish or devalue patent rights in any way."

Among other things, the bill requires lawsuit plaintiffs to specify which patents are at issue and what products allegedly infringe. The Innovation Act also allows a court to require the loser in a patent case to pay the winner's costs if the case was not reasonably justified. We commend the members of both parties who voted for this pro-jobs, pro-economy bill.

“Today Congress worked in bipartisan fashion to do the right thing and secure America's economic future,” said Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro. “Patent trolling is garden-variety extortion by another name, and we are one step closer to shutting it down. I applaud today’s vote to end frivolous patent litigation that is suppressing innovation, stifling economic growth and costing Americans tens of billions of dollars.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.