As I first reported yesterday, the US House of Representatives has been hearing arguments on a new bill that could put an end to many of the frivolous patent lawsuits filled each year by so-called patent trolls. As expected, the bill has passed in the House with support from both sides of the isle.
Known as the Innovation Act 325-91, the bill will now make its way to the senate where it is expected to pass with a bipartisan majority as well. Once it is finished in congress, the bill will make its way to President Obama's desk and he also is expected to sign it into law. If this does happen, we could see an end to the era of east Texas shell corporations that exist only to file and buy low-quality, low-detail patents that are so vague that they can be claimed as part of many technologies.
This is the first step into patent reform, and hopefully the next step will be a complete overhaul of the United States Patent and Trade office. With companies now patenting seeds, human, animal and plant genes, and even specific code, we need to work hard to prevent these sort of things from happening. If not, then I am afraid that we may see an immense slowdown in technological and scientific innovation and breakthroughs for decades to come.