The US House of Representatives is working on a bill which would see the prosecuting company in a patent case cover the legal costs of the defence not only if they lose but also if the judge feels that they never had much chance of winning.
The SHIELD act is the first of its kind and has been created specifically to prevent frivilous patent litigation concerning software and hardware, a very relavant example of course being the ongoing battle between Samsung and Apple in US and European courts.
The amendmant states that "upon making a determination that the party alleging the in fringement of the patent did not have a reasonable likelihood of succeeding, the court may award the recovery of full costs to the prevailing party, including reasonable at torney’s fees, other than the United States."
With Apple currently battling it out with Samsung over the design of the iPhone and iPad it's not clear as to whether this bill will have an immediate impact on the case.
In a statement, Congressman Peter DeFazio outlined what he believed to be the negatives that ultimately come with allowing cases of this kind to continue.
"Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs,” said DeFazio. “They pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create and then suing the innovators who did the hard work and created the product. These egregious lawsuits hurt American innovation and small technology start ups, and they cost jobs. My legislation would force patent trolls to take financial responsibility for their frivolous lawsuits.”