Government efforts to block patent troll activity gained momentum this summer, as the White House issued five executive orders and members of Congress fielded no fewer than five bills aimed at such issues as patent quality and frivolous patent litigation. The executive orders are effective immediately. But their impact won’t be known until the PTO issues rules for implementation, which could take months; the bills before Congress wouldn’t become law before 2014–if ever, says Morrison & Foerster partner Scott Llewellyn.
This fall, a bill from House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte on deterring abusive patent lawsuits has grabbed the spotlight. But it’s too soon to tell which direction the next round of patent reform will take. “There may be broad agreement that there’s a problem, but there’s no consensus on how to solve it,” Llewellyn says. “Right now interested parties should weigh in via the PTO or elected officials.”