STRONGER Patent Act Introduced in Senate

A bipartisan bill has been introduced that would restore the presumption of injunctive relief if a valid patent is infringed, and takes other steps to sew up what the authors say is a court weakening of patent rights.

In fact, the STRONGER (Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience) Patent Act is actually a stronger version of the STRONG Act.

The goal of the bill is to make it easier and less costly for patent holders to enforce patents. While that would not sound like a partisan issue, the legal pursuit of patents by so-called "trolls" that buy up patents and try to extort payments is an issue that implicates patent enforcement, and the bill has at least on Republican backer.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the bill's supporters, says the legislation manages to thread that needle. “We must preserve and strengthen the ability of legitimate patent holders to protect their innovations, while taking steps to narrowly target and deter abusive patent troll behavior," he said. "This bill strikes that balance.”

Others sponsoring the bill were Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Cotton (R- Ark.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii.).

Among the changes from the STRONG Act introduced in the last Congress are "repetitive, harassing petitions in the administrative reviews at the USPTO, reducing duplication between these reviews and district court, and providing a new approach to amending patent claims during them."

Medical Device manufacturers also saw it as a good compromise.

Mark Leahey, president and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), issued the following statement regarding introduction of the the act in the U.S. Senate:

“MDMA applauds the bipartisan work of Senators Tom Cotton, Chris Coons, Dick Durbin and Mazie Hirono for devising legislation that thwarts frivolous patent lawsuits while leveling the playing field for inventors," said Leahey. "The ‘STRONGER Patents Act’ provides a balanced, targeted approach to end abuse, support innovation and spur the lifesaving cures and therapies that patients and providers desperately need."

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.