WASHINGTON (7/14/14)--The House subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade voted 13-6 Thursday to advance a bill designed to combat abusive patent demand letters. The Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act of 2014 would crack down on unfair or deceptive practices in connection with the assertion of a U.S. patent.
The bill would prevent the following:
Violations of the bill would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), under its powers to enforce rules against unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
The Credit Union National Association has been a longtime advocate of meaningful patent reform and submitted a joint letter with other trade associations representing more than 14,000 financial institutions Thursday in support of some of the provisions the TROL Act.
"Financial institutions of every size have been targeted by Patent Assertion Entities, often referred to as patent trolls, who in most cases assert patents of dubious quality through vaguely worded demand letters or intentionally vague complaints," the letter reads. "Indeed, patent trolls' recent focus on credit unions and community banks threatens to pose additional, unwarranted costs on lenders and the communities they serve."
The letter also praised the bill for clarifying the FTC's authority to fight these deceptive practices while not infringing upon the rights of legitimate patent holders to assert their rights.
The bill will now be sent to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee.