House Bill Would Halt Some Common Patent Troll Attacks

July 22, 2013

Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Judy Chu, D-Calif., introduced the Stopping the Offensive Use of Patents Act (STOP Act) H.R. 2766 Monday. The bipartisan bill is similar to the Patent Quality Improvement Act that Senator Schumer introduced in the Senate, and would expand the Covered Business Method review program at the Patent and Trademark Office.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association’s Patent Progress project hosted a press conference call Monday with the Food Marketing Institute to answer questions and provide details about how the abuse of the patent system is not just impacting the tech industry but food retail too. Both organizations welcomed the STOP Act, which would bring some relief to the exponential rise in lawsuits from those whose main business is patent lawsuits known as “patent trolls.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“This legislation would help recall bad patents that have become the weapons of patent trolls. The patent system has become off balance with a few bad actors using the legal system to extort money from everyone from restaurants and businesses that have websites to those buying office equipment. It’s time to return to a balanced system that gives innovators patents for real inventions and stops those merely seeking to exploit the law.  The STOP Act is a step in that direction.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA Patent Counsel Matt Levy:

“This legislation should get support from all sides – patent trolls, as well as the retail establishments, restaurants, small business owners and consumers that patent trolls are increasingly targeting. The reason it should be so noncontroversial is that it saves both sides money in a patent dispute. If the PTO determines the patent is invalid, the lawsuit goes away, and if the patent holds up, that’s an issue neither side has to re-litigate in court.

“Anyone opposing this bill or Senator Schumer’s bill is essentially supporting bad patents. Opposing these bills is equivalent to saying that the PTO shouldn’t be given the chance to correct its mistakes. It’s saying that if you can sneak one past a patent examiner, ‘good for you.’ The problem now is that if you’re the target of one of these bad patents, you’re going to have to spend thousands or millions in hopes you can persuade a non-expert judge or jury (assuming you can afford to fight all the way to trial).”

For more on how this bill would target patent trolls, please see Levy’s blog post for Patent Progress:http://www.patentprogress.org/2013/07/22/patent-progresss-guide-to-patent-reform-legislation/

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