Patent law requires a robust and balanced approach, combining strong protection for patentees with a high-quality examination system designed to produce clear and unambiguous patents.  The patent system must continue to promote innovation by existing companies, while also allowing the next generation of inventors to build new products and services. Low-quality patents, coupled with the high cost of defending against frivolous lawsuits, allow patent assertion entities (PAEs) to drain productive businesses of $29 billion a year in legal costs, according to a  Bessen and Meurer study.

Recent years have seen a proliferation of PAEs, who acquire vague, low-quality patents and target startups and small businesses with frivolous lawsuits.  These suits pressure job-creating enterprises into choosing between settling unmeritorious claims out of court, or facing bankruptcy. PAEs have expanded their range of targets across sectors to include restaurants, retailers, and even end users who purchase consumer electronics products like a scanner.

CCIA supports real patent reforms that include an end to venue abuse and measures to promote high-quality patents.  Specific solutions include:

  • Patent reform legislation, including venue reform and measures to limit abusive litigation by PAEs and protect end users. In particular, venue reform will help mitigate the phenomenon of PAEs bringing lawsuits to the Eastern District of Texas where procedures front load defendants with high court costs, pressuring them to settle lawsuits that the plaintiffs could not ultimately win.
  • Patent quality improvements in the USPTO examination process to encourage more high-quality, clear patents, and reduce ambiguous patents with overly broad claims.

CCIA writes about current patent issues at its blog Patent Progress.

Most Recent Statements&Findings:

Chairwoman Ramirez Speaks at CCIA’s Panel on PAEs and Anticompetitive Behavior

Yesterday, CCIA and The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) hosted an event titled “Competition Law & Patent Assertion Entities: What Antitrust Enforcers can do.”  The keynote speaker was FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who began the event by highlighting problems with PAEs, and suggesting that the FTC might soon engage in a 6(b) study to determine the effects of…

Read more

Chairwoman Ramirez Speaks at CCIA's Panel on PAEs and Anticompetitive Behavior

Yesterday, CCIA and The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) hosted an event titled “Competition Law & Patent Assertion Entities: What Antitrust Enforcers can do.”  The keynote speaker was FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who began the event by highlighting problems with PAEs, and suggesting that the FTC might soon engage in a 6(b) study to determine the effects of…

Read more

CCIA Thanks Senators For Patent Reform Legislation

For too long problems with our patent system have been slowing innovation and costing companies millions of dollars a year in legal costs from companies whose main product is lawsuits. This week the Computer & Communications Industry Association has sent letters thanking two senators for their patent reform initiatives. CCIA applauded Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, for his…

Read more

CCIA Applauds Schumer’s Patent Troll Proposal

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, has announced a proposal that would require the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to review lawsuits brought by patent trolls before they head to court. Schumer said today that he would formally introduce legislation aimed at patent trolls next week. The Computer & Communications Industry Association welcomes Schumer’s proposal to expand…

Read more

Government Support for Fighting Patent Trolls Grows

Lawmakers have been speaking out about the patent troll epidemic in recent weeks and now it looks like they’re ready to do something about it. Yesterday Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he is introducing a bill to expand the covered business methods program established by the 2011 America Invents Act, so that broad, abstract patents can…

Read more