President Obama is about to take action against patent trolls, with a plan to announce a set of executive actions aimed at the companies who abuse the patent system and disrupt competition.

The actions are intended to target companies that have forced technology companies, financial institutions and others into expensive litigations in the name of protecting their product. Obama is bringing his executive actions to Congress.

The firms, or patent trolls, claim no wrong-doing and are legally using patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As a result, Obama is proposing a number of rules to deter patent trolls including five executive actions and seven proposed legislative changes. These include:

  • Direct the Patent and Trademark Office to start a rule-making process aimed at requiring patent holders to disclose the owner of a patent
  • Ask Congress to pass legislation that would allow sanctions on litigants who file lawsuits deemed abusive by courts
  • Direct the patent office to train examiners to scrutinize applications for overly broad patent claims
  • Rein in the growing use of the International Trade Commission to settle patent disputes
  • Get Congress to change certain ITC legal standards and ensure that the agency has flexibility in hiring its judges

President Obama has been interested in reforming the patent system for some time now. The America Invents Act went into effect in March 2011, bringing big changes to the system, like the ability to oppose new patents before they’re granted. Clearly, that was just the beginning of what Obama plans to do for the patent system.

Image Credit: The Occidental Observer