PublishedApril 7, 2014

Main Street Patent Coalition Members Advocate for Patent Reform in the Senate

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.

Ali Sternburg

, CCIA

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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