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SIIA Pushes for Patent Troll Bill

Software developers want Congress to get off the stick and get on with passing a bill to crack down on so-called patent trolls.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is putting a spotlight on what it says is the pressing need for action on the Innovation Act (H.R.9), and is getting an assist from Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the the House Judiciary Committee and one of the bill's prime movers.

It launched a fall push for the bill at a Capitol Hill event Wednesday featuring Goodlatte and others talking about the need to pass the bill this fall.

The goal of the bills is to address the problem of the abuse of patent demand letters, in which entities attempt to extort, or succeed in extorting, money from the targets of the letters to avoid costly litigation.

The bill's backers, which include a number of cable operators, say it balances the need to protect legitimate patent rights with the need to limit frivolous patent claims. Critics say it would allow huge corporations to destroy the patent system in the name of reforming it.

SIIA says abusive patent litigation (from so-called patent trolls) has cost the U.S. economy a half a trillion dollars over the past two decades and more than $29 billion per year since 2005.

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.