Obama Calls For Patent Reform in the State of the Union

In the State of the Union last night, President Obama mentioned the need for patent reform legislation:

And let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.

The Obama Administration further elaborated on that in a list of Key Executive Actions the President Will Take in 2014, which was also released last night:

Protecting American Innovation from Patent Trolls. Our patent system is enshrined in our Constitution to encourage invention and to reward Americans for their hard work and risk-taking; but in recent years, that system has also seen an explosion of abusive patent litigation designed not to reward innovation but to threaten companies based on questionable claims. There are a growing number of companies, commonly called “patent trolls,” who employ these litigation tactics as a business model — abusing the system’s strong protections, costing the economy billions of dollars, and undermining American innovation. In February, President Obama challenged the Administration and Congress to take on this issue, and in June announced a blueprint to protect companies from trolls’ predatory tactics. In his State of the Union address the President renewed his call for Congress to pass patent legislation, which enjoys strong bipartisan support. In the coming weeks, he will announce progress on Administration initiatives on patent reform to simplify and strengthen our patent system for a 21st century economy — helping companies focus on innovation, not litigation.

Obama’s remarks about the patent troll problem in February are available here.  Our post on why the legislative priorities and executive actions that the Obama Administration announced in June — which included making the covered business method (CBM) review program available to more industries — will help to #fixpatents is available here.

CCIA’s press release in response last night demonstrated our support for the President’s remarks on patent reform, and called for the Senate to act :

We are encouraged by the President’s mention of patent reform in the State of the Union because it reflects the broad recognition that patent trolls are a multi-billion dollar drain on our economy. It’s time for the Senate to take up and complete its passage of meaningful patent reform legislation, like the House did late last year. It’s important that the bill includes fee shifting reforms to ensure access to justice for innocent victims of patent trolls, and includes a meaningful system to get mistakenly issued patents reviewed.

Ali Sternburg

Ali Sternburg

Ali Sternburg is Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel at the Computer & Communications Industry Association. After initially joining as a Legal Fellow in June 2011, she focuses on online copyright issues and other areas of intellectual property policy. She also works on DisCo (the Disruptive Competition Project). She received her J.D. in 2012 from American University Washington College of Law, where she was a Student Attorney in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, President of the Intellectual Property Law Society, Senior Symposium Chair and Senior Marketing Manager for the Intellectual Property Brief, and a Dean’s Fellow at the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. She graduated from Harvard College in 2009 where she studied Government and Music, wrote her senior honors thesis on “Theoretical and Legal Views on U.S. Government Involvement in Musical Creativity Online,” and interned at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.