Last June, the Obama Administration announced a number of executive actions to tackle the patent An entity in the business of being infringed — by analogy to the mythological troll that exacted payments from the unwary. Cf. NPE, PAE, PME. See Reitzig and Henkel, Patent Trolls, the Sustainability of ‘Locking-in-to-Extort’ Strategies, and Implications for Innovating Firms. problem and improve patent quality. President Obama also talked about patent reform in his State of the Union speech this year. Today, the Administration followed up with a progress report and some new actions.
Overall, there are good developments to report. The United States Patent and Trademark Office. See also PTO. has moved forward with rules requiring patent owners to disclose the full chain of ownership, which should help deal with the problem of patent trolls using shell companies to hide the real owners. The United States Patent and Trademark Office. See also PTO. is also launching a pilot program that will try to use glossaries in patent applications to make patent claims clearer.
Today the United States Patent and Trademark Office. See also PTO. launched the website http://www.uspto.gov/patents/litigation to provide information to “main street” businesses that get sued by patent trolls.
And the Administration announced today that it’s reaching out to industry to get help gathering Prior art is the knowledge in the field of a patent that was publicly available before the patent was filed. and training examiners in current technology.
These are all positive steps, and the Administration’s recognition of the need for dealing with poor quality patents and patent trolls has been a major factor in moving reform forward. The Administration has renewed its push for patent reform legislation as well.
The House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act late last year, and now the Senate needs to pass similar legislation; the Patent and Trademark Office, informally used interchangeably with USPTO. needs the help to deal with low quality patents that are too often the basis for costly, abusive and frivolous litigation by patent assertion entities.
Only Congress can put a stop to abusive patent litigation tactics and make patent trolling less profitable. Hopefully, the Administration’s attention to the issue will help patent reform keep momentum in the Senate so that we can get a good bill done this year.