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Protecting REALTORS®: The Innovation Act of 2013 Is Passed

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By Zoe Eisenberg

legislative_bill_gavelLast week, the Innovation Act of 2013 was passed. This bill scores a win for the real estate industry as it aims to make procedural changes to the patent system to discourage tactics preferred by trolls – a previous issue for innovative industry professionals facing frivolous patent breach charges.

How will this act protect real estate industry professionals?

A recent letter from the National Association of REALTORS, who support the act, read “our members view the reforms in this bill as an important step in protecting innovators and main street businesses from broad claims of patent infringement based on patents of questionable validity all brought by non-practicing entities.”

According to the letter from NAR, which was written on December 2nd in support of the act:

“As technology users, NAR and several of its members recently faced onerous patent infringement litigation over questionable patents dealing with location based search capabilities. These suits were brought by patent holding companies and other non-practicing entities. They were eventually settled in a multi-million dollar settlement.”

NAR applauds the act and hopes that it will bring needed reforms to address the troll issue by increasing requiring specificity in patent lawsuits, increasing patent ownership transparency, and assuring that the losing—not winning—plaintiffs pay so that the defendant may recover the costs of defending against an unsuccessful patent lawsuit. Hopefully, the reforms in the Innovation Act will shift the financial burden of excessive patent lawsuits from small business defendants to the instigating trolls themselves.

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