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September 07, 2021

Schweikert, Delbene Introduce Legislation to Protect American Industry, Workers, and Consumers from Patent Trolls

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives David Schweikert (AZ-06) and Susan Delbene (WA-01) introduced the Advancing America’s Interests Act, legislation that will help prevent the International Trade Commission (ITC) from being misused. The ITC has the power to ban products from entry into the U.S. marketplace and this power has been persistently abused by patent licensing entities, more commonly known as patent trolls, which buy up patents with the sole intent of using them to extract profits or stifle competition.

The legislation will help modernize the ITC and its processes to ensure that resources are properly directed toward advancing America’s interests and protecting our industries, workers, and consumers. Specifically, the bill:

  • Establishes an appropriate “domestic industry” standard, which would require that a U.S. company cannot be used as a plaintiff/complainant unless they voluntarily join a complaint requesting the ITC’s relief. This refined standard would also clarify that companies whose only industry is licensing (no research, development, or manufacturing) must show that its patent has led to the adoption or development of products that actually incorporate the patent.

  • Reaffirms the ITC’s public interest obligation. The ITC will be required to consider public interest as paramount to the exercise of its remedial powers (regarding an exclusion order) and affirmatively determine that any exclusion serves the public interest.

“Ensuring the International Trade Commission cannot be used as a venue for misuse by patent licensing entities is paramount for protecting consumers and promoting strong global market competition,” said Rep. Schweikert. “This legislation is an important step in reforming the ITC’s unfair import processes, and will help to ensure America can continue being a leader in advancing innovation.”

“As we begin to rebuild our economy, one of our top priorities must be protecting and prioritizing American workers and industries through strong trade policy and enforcement,” said Rep. DelBene. “In recent years, patent licensing entities have taken advantage of the ITC process for financial gain. By modernizing the ITC with this bill, we can help ensure the public interest is always put first as the commission adjudicates.”

A summary of the legislation can be found here and the full bill text is available here.


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