Seeking to curb patent trolls, Tuesday President Obama announced he would be issuing several new executive orders, he explained, “to protect innovators from frivolous litigation.”
Obama issued the orders to the Patent and Trademark Office, which would now require companies claiming patent infringement to provide very specific and precise details when making a claim.
The orders will also require the office to examine broad claims and to restrict lawsuits targeted against end-users and small-business owners with off-the-shelf products.
The executive orders come after a sharp increase in the number of patent trolls and patent infringement lawsuits over the last two years, particularly in the technology sector.
Sources report that some 4,000 suits have been filed in the United States in 2012 alone, almost double the number of suits filed in the previous year. In 2011 nearly a third more than in 2010 were filed.
This substantial increase in patent trolling has been attributed to the America Invents Act, signed by Obama in 2011, which was originally intended to curb excessive patent suits. The act made it illegal for a single suit to be filed against a large group of defendants for the same infringement.
Instead of curbing litigation by making it more difficult to file suits, it has encouraged the rise of a patent troll industry. These patent trolls, as many call them, are shell companies formed purely for the purpose of filing patent infringement lawsuits.
The push by President Obama for patent infringement law reform in recent years has been spurred on by several recent patent troll lawsuits, including one which asserted that by connecting a particular document scanner to an office system hundreds of small businesses have been violating patent.
Another patent troll has even gone so far as to claim that they are owed royalties from podcast producers.