President Obama plans to issue five executive orders today aimed at slaying, or at least curtailing, patent trolls—companies that amass a lot of patents purely for licensing and litigation purposes. Obama's orders will, among other things, ask the Patent and Trademark Office to take a harder look at overly broad patents, and to create a rule requiring companies to disclose who actually owns a patent, to avoid confusing lawsuits from shell companies, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Obama has made little secret of his distaste for the patent firms. They "don't actually produce anything themselves," he complained earlier this year. "They're just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else's idea to see if they can extort some money out of them." The president will also send seven recommended legislative fixes to Congress, including one that would create penalties for filing lawsuits that courts deemed to be abusive. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)