Litigation has become an ever-growing part of the innovation game, and Congress is preparing to crack down on patent trolls with a bipartisan bill proposing the Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes, or SHIELD, Act. The bill proposes that trolls be forced to pay the legal costs if their patent lawsuits fail in court. The bill already has some friends in high places, including President Obama and the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee. If the SHIELD Act becomes law, the States could become a much more peaceful place for technological incubation, without fear of frivilous litigation.
An anti-trust suit from 2005 has finally been settled between merchants, credit card companies, and banks to allow retailers in 40 US states to add surcharges on credit card purchases. These fees are still illegal in California, New York, Texas, and seven other states. The fees are optional for retailers, and there will be no fee on debit card purchases, but if you often pull out the plastic, that 1% cash back might not be worth it much longer.