Seven-term Republican Congressman Michael Burgess’ (R-TX) patent protection bill has been voted through the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill is now making its way to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
Called the TROL act, which stands for “Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters”, it deals with the protection of patents and inventions. It focuses on bad-faith demand letters that contain misleading information, or fail to disclose key pieces of patent information. Basically, it levels criminal penalties against the threat of vexatious lawsuits for patent infringements, which are typically accompanied by demands for money in lieu of a lawsuit. Such lawsuits been a costly hindrance to inventors and their companies.
In a statement released to Breitbart Texas, Burgess said, “Abusive patent letters unjustly threaten small business owners and drive up prices for consumers.”
“I am pleased by the passage of this critical bill, which stops bad-faith litigators from using our courts to prey on both aspiring and accomplished entrepreneurs,” the Congressman continued. “This is a necessary solution that balances First Amendment rights of legitimate patent holders and filters out letters that lack legitimacy.”
It was a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur from the 9th District in Ohio. “This bill deals with one of the most pressing issues with our patent system,” Rep. Kaptur said. “A small group of bad actors have discovered that they can extract money from our nation’s independent inventors and small businesses, especially those with only one or two patents, by sending out hundreds or even thousands of erroneous patent lawsuit threats. This legislation raises the stakes for those that engage in this kind of predatory behavior and establishes a standard for enforcement across all states to protect against it.”
Burgess is in his 7th term from the 28th District, which covers most of Denton County, and northeast Tarrant County. He is one of seven M.D.’s in the House, and is in the Tea Party caucus.
Rob Milford is a news contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Facebook.