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Obama Seeking Patent Lawsuit Reforms

U.S. President Barack Obama is moving to curb what he views as frivolous patent infringement lawsuits.

The White House said Tuesday that the president is imposing several changes in U.S. patent regulation and asking Congress to approve other reforms to help cut down on costly lawsuits that hurt the U.S. economy.

The changes, if fully enacted, could rein in the lawsuits brought by companies that often are described by detractors as "patent trolls." These companies often hold patents on technology and other corporate inventions but do not manufacture products themselves. Instead, they file lawsuits, pursuing damages and licensing fees from companies using similar technology.

The White House said that "as technology evolves more rapidly than ever, we must insure our patent system keeps pace." One of the changes Obama is seeking would enforce penalties against firms filing frivolous claims, but these patent holders say that some of the U.S. companies are illegally infringing on their patent rights.

In recent years, the biggest targets of the lawsuits have been major technology firms, including Apple, Hewlett Packard, Samsung and Dell.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.