This week brought new studies on patent trolls. One study, by PatentFreedom, brought even more proof that expanding Covered Business Method (CBM) review is essential to help #fixpatents, as the number of trolls using business method patents has increased from 168 to 1423 in eight years; almost 40% of trolls use a While not formally defined, "methods of doing business" were excluded from patentability by judicial rule prior to the 1998 State Street decision. Business method patents have been subject to extensive criticism and have been subject to special scrutiny by the USPTO (through a so-called "second pair of eyes" review) and now under a transitional review procedure established by the AIA. Business methods as their weapon of choice. As Matt Levy explained, only 9% of these patents are financial services patents, which is the only category eligible for CBM review under the 2011 America Invents Act of 2011. AIA made modest reforms, most notably moving the U.S. to a first-inventor-to-file system more aligned with foreign practice, but also including expanding prior user rights to all patent-eligible subject matter, and instituting a post-grant review proceeding.. Thus, expanding CBM review to cover other types of business method patents is important to lower the burden on businesses being sued across the country. Also, a new report by Colleen Chien was published by New America Foundation’s OTI; it examines the experiences of VCs and startups with patent assertion from patent trolls. According to her research, “75% of surveyed venture capitalists (VCs) and 20% of venture-backed startups with patent experience have been impacted by an Non-Practicing Entity. A broad term associated with trolls but now disfavored because it includes universities and legitimate technology developers that seek to license technology in advance rather than after a producing company has independently developed it. More demand; nearly 90% of all tech VCs have been impacted.”
Patent Progress’s other post from this week is on a patent being issued in which our own Matt Levy was an inventor, 10 years after it was filed!
And last week, there was a post on IP-Watch by CCIA Senior Fellow Brian Kahin, who wrote: “The USTR’s disapproval of the International Trade Commission order excluding Apple products from the US raises difficult issues about the relationship between public decision-making and private solutions – and invites strategic policymaking by other governments.”
Congress is coming back from August recess next week, which means that patent reform will soon be back in full swing. To get back up to speed, you can find all of the proposed legislation in our Resource Center. We’ll keep you updated as things develop.
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