PublishedJuly 26, 2013

Roundup of This Week’s Patent News: July 26 Edition

Hi readers!  Congressional support for patent reform continues to grow.  On Monday, Rep. Issa and Rep. Chu introduced the Stopping the Offense Use of Patents (STOP Act).  That bill prompted Matt Levy to release Patent Progress’s Guide to Patent Reform Legislation, which has summaries of the six pending bills:  SHIELD Act (H.R. 845), Patent Quality Improvement Act (S. 866), Stopping the Offensive Use of Patents Act (STOP Act) (H.R. 2766), End Anonymous Patents Act (H.R. 2024), Patent Abuse Reduction Act (S. 1013), Patent Litigation and Innovation Act (H.R. 2639).

Matt Levy was quoted in Ars Technica explaining how expanding Covered Business Method review, which is part of both the STOP Act and Senator Schumer’s Patent Quality Improvement Act, would be a welcome reform because this review process at the USPTO costs much less than patent litigation.  Matt was also quoted in eWEEK on this same issue:

This is probably the most important of the proposals out there.  This allows you to disarm the trolls.

Professor Robin Feldman also had a good article this week supporting the FTC’s work to fight patent assertion entities, where she explains the problems of patent trolls, and why FTC action would help.  She also notes that:

Both the White House report and Chairwoman Ramirez’s speech cite my research showing that patent assertion entities – that is, trolls – now file almost 60 percent of the patent lawsuits in this country. That is a staggering statistic, and a significant rise from 2007, when the level was only 25 percent.

There was also an interesting piece about the Stack Exchange Ask Patents project, which works with the USPTO to crowdsource prior art, preventing bad patents from being granted.  Anil Dash tweeted the article, and then added, “(Why should the tech industry work with policy makers? To get good results like improving the patent system.)”  Exactly!

Finally, reader Tyson Benson notified us that the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has initiated an investigation into Farney Daniels, LLP to determine whether the firm’s demand letters constituted a violation of the Nebraska Consumer Protection Act.  This is reminiscent of the suit brought by the Vermont AG under the Vermont Consumer Protection Act.  This is yet another indication of the pervasiveness of the patent troll problem, and the wide range of support for efforts to #fixpatents.

Did we miss something?  Questions or suggestions?  Feel free to leave a comment below, mention us on Twitter (@PatentProgress), or email us: patentprogress[AT]ccianet[DOT]org 

Ali Sternburg


Ali Sternburg is Vice President, Information Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, where she focuses on intermediary liability, copyright, and other areas of intellectual property. Ali joined CCIA during law school in 2011, and previously served as Senior Policy Counsel, Policy Counsel, and Legal Fellow. She is also an Inaugural Fellow at the Internet Law & Policy Foundry.

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.

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