This morning, the Main Street Patent Coalition held an informative discussion on patent reform. There were speakers from associations representing home builders, realtors, franchisees and franchisors, convenience stores, credit unions, bankers, grocers, the retail industry, the gaming industry, Latino-owned businesses, and application developers. They represent millions of Americans working in small, medium, and large businesses all across the country. And they all want patent reform.
Several priorities that were raised repeatedly were (1) demand letter reform, (2) litigation reforms, such as a customer stay provision, and (3) patent quality. And all of the speakers demonstrated how patent trolls’ extortionist behaviors directly harm jobs, economic growth, and innovation in their industries.
Patents being asserted against participants included patents on drop-down menus on websites, search alert functions, valuation tools, QR codes, ATMs, and other common tools. Some of their members had even received demand letters asserting patents that had been invalidated.
One important point that was made was that nothing in the Senate’s bill will affect good-quality patents that are held by stakeholders like universities, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers.
Tim Sparapani of the App Developers Alliance summed it up well: Congress’s goal for passing patent reform legislation should be that when the ink is dry, they have done enough to change the patent troll business model.