Roundup of This Week’s Patent News: July 12 Edition

And we’re back, after taking last week off for the Fourth of July.  Here’s what you need to know about patent news this week:

On Tuesday, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), co-sponsor of the SHIELD Act, had an op-ed in The Hill in which he summarized the pervasive patent troll problem, pointing out statistics from James Bessen and Colleen Chien, and concluded with remarks on the growing bipartisan support in Congress:

In a welcome break from the partisan dysfunction that has plagued the last few Congresses, there is motivation and momentum on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to address the problem of patent trolls. In the coming months I am confident that Democrats and Republicans will be able to come together to pass a comprehensive plan that will protect the Americans bold enough to create and innovate, and stop the people who hijack their ideas to get rich quick. We cannot afford to allow extortion that squeezes billions of dollars from the people and business that fuel our economy.

Also on Tuesday, Justin McCabe explained that there was some procedural action in the Vermont state case against patent troll MPHJ; there is still uncertainty about whether the state law claims are preempted by federal law.

This week on Patent Progress, Matt Levy wrote about the ITC applying its new rule on the “domestic industry” requirement and finding against troll Lamina, a decision that “potentially saves the defendant companies millions of dollars in expenses.”  He also explained in another post that “an unregulated secondary market for patents inevitably leads to patent trolls, and we all pay that cost.”  And yesterday, he reported on introduction of the latest new patent bill, the Patent Litigation and Innovation Act, sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), which has some end user protections.

Finally, thanks to Patent Progress reader “Master of Comp Sci” for commenting on the most recent Weekly Patent Roundup with Joe Mullin’s story in Ars Technica about ArrivalStar, a patent troll that targets public transit systems, being sued by the American Public Transportation Association and the Public Patent Foundation.  The complaint states:

In the midst of a struggling economy for government and citizens alike, where budgets are tight for everyone, the last thing public transportation agencies should be forced to do is pay unjustified license fees to patent holders making frivolous infringement claims.  Yet, that is exactly what several of our nation’s public transportation agencies have already been forced to do as a result of a patent holder named ArrivalStar that claims patents on the idea of telling someone when a vehicle will arrive.


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Ali Sternburg

Ali Sternburg

Ali Sternburg is Senior Policy 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.