GAO Patent Litigation Study Shows Growing Toll On Economy

August 22, 2013

The Government Accountability Office has released a new study on patent litigation and patent trolls Thursday. The study finds evidence that patent trolls are a growing problem; it also finds that a main reason they are able to abuse the legal system is low quality patents.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has been lobbying for more than a decade for reforms to improve patent quality and to reduce the ability of those seeking to exploit the current legal system. The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President Cathy Sloan:

“We appreciate the scope of this research and production of this timely study. While abusive patent litigation is certainly not good news, companies facing the expense of nuisance lawsuits are encouraged that this additional evidence may motivate improvements to specific rules for patent litigation sooner rather than later. This study is yet another reason why Congress should support patent reform measures that have already been introduced.

“CCIA appreciates the leadership from Judiciary Chairmen Goodlatte and Leahy on this subject and looks forward to seeing their new proposals after recess.”

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

“The GAO patent troll study should help clear up any remaining doubt over the need for patent reform. For example, the GAO study demonstrates that patent trolls overwhelmingly use low-quality business method patents as their weapon of choice. It also shows that the cost of litigating such patents in court is incredibly expensive, but that the PTO’s Covered Business Method Review (CBM) program, if it’s available, is an effective and much less expensive way to let the PTO address low-quality software patents. This is why we need the expansion of the CBM program to include many more business method patents.”

“We hope that those in Congress who were waiting for this study will see the toll on the economy and will support patent reform legislation like the STOP Act (Reps. Darrell Issa, R-CA, and Judy Chu, D-CA), the Patent Quality Improvement Act (Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY), the Patent Abuse Reduction Act (Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas) and the Patent Litigation and Innovation Act of 2013 (Reps. Blake Farenthold, R-TX, and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.).”

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