Brown and Julie Samuels, a patent attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, both praised the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act, introduced by two lawmakers on Wednesday. The bill would allow judges to force NPE plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits to pay the court costs of the defendant, if the plaintiff loses the case.
The SHIELD Act would make the "troll business model a lot less attractive," Samuels said.
While the SHIELD Act could help with lawsuits, it wouldn't protect many small businesses and startups, said Alan Schoenbaum, senior vice president and general counsel at Web hosting company Rackspace. Many small businesses "can't even afford to go to court," he said.
Schoenbaum called on Congress to find other ways to protect small businesses from NPE lawsuits.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.