Congressman’s bill TROLs bad actors, seeks to protect legitimate patent holders

By David Yates | Mar 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Congressman Michael Burgess, (R-TX), recently reintroduced H.R. 108, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act of 2019.

The legislation, which has been introduced since the 114th Congress, seeks to protect legitimate patent holders and stop bad actors.

Burgess, a medical doctor and leader of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, believes entrepreneurship and innovation are key pillars of American opportunity and that patent trolls foil progress with frivolous legal action – particularly in the Eastern District of Texas.

“The federal government should not be in the business of thwarting entrepreneurs’ ingenuity,” Burgess said. “The TROL Act is a commonsense solution that would protect Americans’ intellectual property and expand their opportunity to innovate.

Just recently, Apple announced it would close its stores in Plano and Frisco and open a store within the jurisdiction of the Northern District court – a move that could keep the tech giant out of the Eastern District’s jurisdiction.

Texas’ Eastern District is known for housing patent trolls who target patent owners.

“In North Texas, Apple’s recent decision to close two stores located in the Eastern District and open a store outside of its jurisdiction underscores the need for legislation to limit patent trolls,” Burgess said. “Congress should consider the TROL Act soon.”

The TROL Act makes it an unfair or deceptive act or practice, under the Federal Trade Commission’s Section 5 authority, for a person to knowingly send misleading demand letters asserting patent infringement – also known as patent demand letters.

The bill would allow the FTC to impose civil penalties on patent trolls that limit innovation and hurt small businesses that cannot afford to fight the assertions in court.

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Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas U.S. House of Representatives

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