PublishedAugust 2, 2013

Roundup of This Week’s Patent News: August 2 Edition

Good morning!  Here’s some patent news from this week.  On Tuesday, a whole bunch of prominent companies (many in non-tech industries, like retail and food) sent a letter to Congress encouraging them to expand Covered Business Method (CBM) review; Patent Progress has pointed out repeatedly ([1], [2], [3]) that expanding CBM review is the most important reform that’s been introduced.  Expansion of CBM review is currently found in Senator Schumer’s Patent Quality Improvement Act and Representative Issa and Representative Chu’s STOP Act.

On Monday, Matt Levy previewed a Wednesday talk by FTC Commissioner Julie Brill on patent assertion entities, and yesterday he announced that she did in fact support the FTC doing a 6(b) study, joining her colleagues Edith Ramirez and Maureen Ohlhausen.  This means a majority  of commissioners have expressed interest, and so action seems likely.

Wednesday also brought the launch of EFF’s Trolling Effects, a crowd-sourced database of patent demand letters, to bring transparency and attention to that troubling practice.  And yesterday Matt Levy also pointed out that comedian Marc Maron (who was sued by Personal Audio, the infamous podcast patent troll) gave a great explanation and framing of the patent troll issue in a recent interview.

Finally, yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on copyright, “Innovation in America: The Role of Technology,” ended up having quite a few discussions of problems in the patent system; these issues are clearly on the minds of several witnesses, and quite a few Congressmen.  Some tweets from another CCIA blog, DisCo (the Disruptive Competition Project), about the hearing are embedded below.

There were some comments from Nathan Seidle of SparkFun (@ChipAddict):

Van Lindberg of Rackspace (@VanL):

And Jim Fruchterman of Benetech (@JRandomF):

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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