Patent Progress in the News

Here are some recent articles in which Patent Progress was quoted or cited:

IP-Watch (10/1/2013): What The US Government Shutdown Means For Patents

The United States Congress’ failure to pass a budget for the government by the end of the fiscal year on 30 September, which led to today’s shutdown, will have a variety of effects on the patent process, according to a new article.

According to Matt Levy, posting on the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s PatentProgress blog, the patent filing and court systems will keep functioning on reserves – at least for a few weeks.

Patently-O (9/30/2013): Bits & Bytes from Jonathan Hummel

#2. Troubled Trolls Pen Letter to Congress Re Covered Business Method Expansion

Matt Levy, writing at Patent Progress, breaks down a letter sent last week by concerned NPEs. Last Friday, BSA (Business Software Alliance) and a number of companies sent a letter to Senate and House Judiciary Committee leadership. BSA puts forth the standard “hamper to innovation” argument against expanding covered from only those business method patents dealing with financial services to all business methods. The letter was delivered to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., (D-Mich.).Read the letter here.

The Hill (9/25/2013): Tech groups want more from Goodlatte on patent reform

If enacted, the draft would require the U.S. Judicial Conference to examine the rules surrounding patent litigation. The patent reform advocate called this “a very minor, but very important” change from Goodlatte’s first discussion draft, which encouraged but did not require the review.

“Goodlatte definitely listened to stakeholders, because the sections on litigation and transparency are quite strong,” Levy said.

“This definitely bodes well for getting a strong bill out of committee.”

Washington Post (9/24/2013) Large patent holders hate this reform proposal. That’s a good sign.

Yet many real-world innovators have the opposite perspective. Matt Levy is a patent attorney at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which counts firms such as Google, Facebook, Samsung, Red Hat and Yahoo as members. Levy contends that the arguments of Microsoft and its allies are disingenuous.

“If your patents are valid, then you have nothing to worry about,” Levy wrote in a Monday blog post. “The PTO won’t review a patent under CBM review unless it decides that the patent is likely invalid.”

“The signers of this letter aren’t worried about stifling innovation,” Levy concluded. “They’re worried that their junky patents won’t be as easy to sell to trolls.”

Washington Internet Daily (9/23/2013) PAEs Forming Association That Would Be First of Its Kind

Critics of the PAEs described even Merbeth’s initial engagement efforts as somewhat superficial. IV’s outreach is a “charm offensive,” with a similar effort coming from IPNav, said Matt Levy, patent counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which has members including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and T-Mobile. “They’re concerned about the patent reforms that have been introduced on the Hill,” he said. “I doubt they’d be driven out of business, but it certainly could cost them a lot of money. And any time that happens, we should expect them to come out and try and sell themselves in the best way possible.” Merbeth said otherwise. “Other people describe it as a charm offensive because they want to create an impression that we need to be charming, when I think we just need to be factual,” he said. “Which is what I have been saying is really missing from the debate — the facts and data. Because there are so few companies like IV and even fewer still that have any presence in Washington it seems to fall on us to try to fill in the blanks and correct misimpressions.”

MacWorld (8/8/2013) Movement expected Friday in Apple, Samsung patent wars

Last Saturday’s decision by the USTR to overrule the USITC’s decision to ban the import of some Apple products, in a separate patent complaint brought by Samsung, may put commissioners in a difficult position, said Matthew Levy, patent counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

U.S. trading partners may see the decision by the USTR to overturn the import ban on older Apple iPhones and iPads as an effort to protect U.S.-based Apple from Samsung, a South Korean company, Levy said. If the USITC now bans the import of some Samsung devices, other countries may see that as “favoritism,” he said.

The USTR’s decision “set up a difficult situation here,” he added.

Inc. (7/24/2013) Really, Congress? 6 Different Patent Reform Bills? 

This bill, introduced by Senator Charles Schumer in May 2013, expands something called the Covered Business Method (CBM) review. Under the Act, owners that are being sued can request the U.S. Patent Office to review a patent and investigate if it’s too broad and the troll’s claims are valid. Mind you, a CBM review would still cost you–about $30,000–but as the advocacy group Patent Progress points out, it’s still cheaper than litigation. “Also, businesses threatened over the same patent can pool resources to jointly file a CBM petition,” writes Matt Levy, patent counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

NY Times (7/24/2013) Letter to the Editor – Obama’s Action on Patents

It’s important to understand the larger point of President Obama’s executive actions.

The president has correctly identified software patents as the main fuel for the patent troll litigation wildfire. And he has proposed a reasonable solution: directing the Patent and Trademark Office to focus on limiting patents to what someone actually invented.

For example, why should someone who creates a particular system for distributing audio files receive a patent for every possible system for distributing audio files?

This common-sense solution by the administration is long overdue, and I applaud the president for pursuing it.

Ars Technica (7/22/2013) Supermarkets’ solution to patent trolls: fight it out at the USPTO

Some reform-oriented groups, including Communications and Computer Industry Association (organizers of today’s call), are looking to the business method review process as one that could be effective in blocking more bad patents. The first such review to be completed resulted in SAP knocking out a patent owned by Versata Software, which may save the company from a $345 million patent damages verdict.

Fees and costs to conduct such a review add up to about $100,000, according to CCIA patent counsel Matt Levy. That’s much less than the cost of litigating a patent case through trial, which is typically $2 million or more. The review process also lends itself to a situation where many small businesses could mount a collective attack on a bad patent, whereas managing joint defense groups in litigation is a trickier affair. “If a troll is targeting 20 or 30 companies, they can each chip in,” explained Levy.

eWeek (7/22/2013) Bipartisan Bill Aimed at ‘Patent Trolls’ Introduced in U.S. House

“This is probably the most important of the proposals out there,” said Matt Levy, patent counsel for the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which issued statements of support for both the House and Senate versions of the bill. “This allows you to disarm the trolls.”

San Jose Mercury News (6/26/2013) Troll Alert: Tech Trade Group Sees Momentum Toward Patent Reform

Momentum is building toward passage of significant patent reforms in Congress by next year, according to Matt Levy, patent policy counsel for the Computer & Communications Industry Association, whose members include tech giants Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo – although not Apple or Oracle.

Levy’s in a position to know: He’s a longtime patent attorney, former software engineer (and sometime blues guitarist, according to his bio) who joined the staff of the CCIA trade group earlier this year. He and CCIA representative Beau Phillips stopped by Silicon Beat headquarters this week to talk about the group’s efforts to pursue legislation aimed at blocking patent trolls and abusive patent lawsuits.

Mashable (6/5/2013) Software Patent Trolls: Obama’s Got You in His Sights

Matt Levy, patent counsel at the technology industry advocacy group Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), explains:

As an example, suppose I came up with an idea for a car with a gas-electric hybrid engine, but where the battery for the engine is recharged by a passenger pedaling a built-in stationary bicycle. But my patent claim is broader than that; I claim “A motor vehicle with a gas-electric hybrid engine comprising a storage battery, wherein the storage battery is recharged using a mechanically-powered generator.” It’s an accurate description, although it doesn’t include the specifics of what I invented. By describing the invention in terms of its functions, that is, its general features, my patent omits what should be an important limiting detail: my invention is impractically pedal-powered.

Functional claims are legal, but they’re supposed to be “restricted to the invention that’s described in the specification only,” Levy told Mashable. “And that’s important, because it narrows the scope of those sorts of patents,” said Levy.