The goal of a new law passed December 5 by the U.S. House of Representatives is to reign in so-called patent trolls, those who file frivolous and vague patent infringement lawsuits against broad classes of small businesses. The legislation, known as the Innovation Act and passed by a bipartisan vote in the House, would require patent infringement plaintiffs to show that their claims are justified to avoid paying all costs of litigation if they lose a case. With the new law, if the plaintiff can't show that it has a valid claim, then it has to bear the cost.

According to Brian W. LaCorte, an intellectual property partner in Ballard Spahr's Phoenix office, the new legislation will succeed in discouraging overly broad, frivolous lawsuits filed in bad faith. "If passed, the Innovation Act will implement fee-shifting provisions that require a showing by plaintiff that its claims were justified to avoid imposition of attorneys' fees for losing the case," Mr. LaCorte said in a prepared statement.

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