Senate Judiciary chairman crafting bill to combat 'patent trolls'

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Numerous business groups have complained to Congress in recent months about "patent trolls"—firms that use bogus patent infringement claims to extort settlements out of companies. 

The firms target companies creating new products, but they also go after small businesses using common technologies such as scanners or Wi-Fi networks. They often have no plans to make products of their own.

Many companies agree to settle because the cost of fighting the charges in court is so high.

"The result of this misuse of the patent system is a drag on our economy," Leahy and Lee wrote in a joint op-ed in Politico on Sunday night. "It also tarnishes the image of legitimate patent holders. This is not the patent system provided for in our Constitution."

The senators said their legislation "will increase the transparency of patent ownership, protect the customer of a patented product when the manufacturer should really be the defendant and improve the process for reviewing patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office."

Numerous lawmakers including Sens. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.) and John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas) and Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzTop Utah paper knocks Chaffetz as he mulls run for governor: ‘His political career should be over’ Boehner working on memoir: report Former GOP lawmaker on death of 7-year-old migrant girl: Message should be ‘don't make this journey, it will kill you' MORE (R-Utah) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) have all introduced their own bills to combat patent trolls. The White House also announced a set of executive actions in June to address the problem.

Some House Democrats, however, have expressed concern that some legislative proposals could stifle legitimate patent lawsuits and cut off access to the courts.