patent reform

The Federal Trade Commission sets its sights on Patent Aggression Entities

patent reform

Just before the shutdown of the Federal Government last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took a first and important step to examine critical questions surrounding Patent Aggression Entities (PAEs): » Read more

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Expanding the 'Covered Business Method' program: Sensible patent reform ... and why opponents have it wrong

hazy shade of value

Before the summer Congressional recess, a broad coalition of job-creating businesses added their voices to the pro-reform chorus with a ringing letter to Congress urging that expansion of the Covered Business Method (CBM) program be a cornerstone of any patent reform legislation being considered. 

The CBM program provides an innovative, carefully tailored means to address a particularly heinous abuse: manipulating the patent litigation system through aggressive use of unclear and overly broad business method patents by patent aggression entities (PAEs). It is currently limited to business method patents involving financial service products.

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The role of software patents in the patent reform debate

Software patent reform

Momentum seems to be building in Congress to tackle patent reform. From an open source perspective, any reform that reduces the risk and expense of patent lawsuits is surely a good thing. But the reforms under current discussion so far have largely been focused on the problem of NPEs (non-practicing entities) and have not directly addressed the problem of software patents. Are the two issues best viewed as one? So argues Boston University Professor James Bessen in his recent piece, The patent troll crisis is really a software patent crisis.

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More voices join the chorus for patent reform

patent reform

Patent reform is hot! The momentum seems to be building in Congress for patent reform to address the problem of nefarious patent exploiters (also known as non-practicing entities, patent assertion entities, and, less politely, trolls). As previously noted here, there are a number of serious legislative proposals circulating, and the President is pressing for new legislation.

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QUIZ: What do EFF, movie studios, automobiles, and your local grocery store have in common?

patent reform

If you guessed that they are all big in California—well, you're kinda right.

But the more significant answer is that they are part of a growing broad array of the US economy that have united together to strongly encourage Congress to address abuses of the legal system by Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs).

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A banner year for patent litigation in 2012

patent litigation

Open source community members and most everyone else involved in software are concerned about patent lawsuits and the activities of non-practicing entities (NPEs). While we all have a sense from personal experience or by reading the news that patent litigation and NPEs are a large and growing concern, at times it's hard to see the forest for the trees. A new report from a respected accounting firm gives a bird's eye view of the forest.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) 2013 Patent Litigation Study, 2012 was a "banner year for patent infringement litigation." Patent actions continued their dramatic rise in 2012 with 5,189 filings—the highest number ever recorded, and a 29% rise over last year, primarily resulting from the impact of the anti-joinder provision of the America Invents Act. Meanwhile, the 2012 median damages award, boosted by several unusually large damages awards, rose to nearly $10 million, which is double the average award seen over the previous six years.

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Congress looking to act on patent assertion entities

government and patent law

Congress is beginning to focus on the abusive use of patents by Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) with new legislative proposals.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and a wide variety of witnesses highlighted the PAE problem in hearings last winter. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is working with Chairman Goodlatte and committed to working in a bicameral and bipartisan way to counter what they term 'patent trolling,' which "casts a pall on the system because it hinders innovation."

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White House takes executive action to curb patent abuse

Patent reform

The White House on Tuesday announced a broad set of legislative recommendations for Congress and executive actions aimed at thwarting abusive patent infringement lawsuits.

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Patent reform: Can preissuance submissions help?

patent reform

While almost no one thinks that the America Invents Act (AIA) will completely solve America’s patent problems, there are a few provisions in the AIA that may be useful tools in limiting and/or preventing bad patents. One of these tools is the newly implemented Preissuance Submission procedure, which went into effect on September 16, 2012. This procedure allows third parties to participate in the patent application process by providing prior art, which can then be used by a patent examiner to determine whether a patent application lacks novelty or is otherwise obvious. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now seized upon the new procedure to organize a project to identify pending applications related to 3D printing and then seek out relevant prior art for submission. » Read more

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The first step in addressing dysfunction in the patent system: Admitting we have a problem

patent reform

Does the Apple-Samsung case have a silver lining? For the open source community, the large damages verdict is disturbing, but at least it is drawing public attention to some of the deep problems of our patent system. This week the New York Times ran a front page story on the jury’s verdict that said, “The case underscores how dysfunctional the patent system has become.”

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