Support For Expanded Review Of Business Method Patents.

While there are several anti-patent troll bills pending in Congress, the STOP Act seems to be gaining the greatest traction. It would make the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Transitional Business Method Program permanent and expand it to other industries.

The new post-grant review procedures under the America Invents Act allow a third party to challenge a patent’s invalidity on a number of grounds, including prior art, lack of enablement, lack of novelty, or inadequate written description. Post-grant review allows parties to raise a number of new challenges that were previously reserved for litigation.

Under the proposed legislation, the definition of “covered business methods” would be expanded to include “an enterprise” or “a product.” The STOP Act, sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa and Judy Chu, closely mirrors Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer this spring.

In a letter to leaders of the judiciary committees of both the House and Senate, nearly 50 major U.S. companies, including Morgan Stanley, Google, Wal-Mart and Dell, expressed support for the legislation as a way to combat abusive patent litigation by patent-assertion entities (PAEs).

As the companies explain, “Too often, abusive PAE litigation exploits low-quality business method patents.
The vague and sweeping scope of many business method claims covering straightforward, commonsense steps has led to an explosion of patent claims against processes used every day in common technologies by thousands of businesses and millions of Americans.”

“Expanding an existing Patent Office program, the Covered Business Method (CBM) Program, beyond its current limitation of ‘financial services’ business method patents to all business method patents would accomplish this goal. An expanded CBM Program would enable the Patent Office to reconsider the validity of issued business method patents and provide a targeted “surgical strike” against the worst of these frequently abused patents. And it would increase certainty for innovators actually bringing new products to market, who now face an increasing threat of extortive demands based on low-quality patents,” the letter further argues.

How Can I Help?

I will be closely tracking the status of this legislation and all other patent reform initiatives currently pending in Congress. For additional information about how the proposed changes may impact you or your company, I encourage you to contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

New Report Finds NPEs Filed Majority of Patent Cases in 2012

Patent infringement litigation by non-practicing entitles (NPEs), also referred to as “patent trolls,” continues to rise dramatically.

In fact, NPEs filed 56 percent of all patent suits, according to a new report by Lex Machina Inc. and the University of California Hastings College of the Law. By comparison, patent trolls filed only 24 percent of patent infringement litigation in 2007.

The new study expanded on the group’s prior research regarding what it calls “patent monetization entities.” The latest report examined 13,000 cases from 2007-2008 and 2011-2012.

Below are several noteworthy findings detailed in the report:

• The number of defendants sued by NPEs decreased slightly from 2011 to 2012, which “may suggest that changes in the joinder rules from the America Invents Act had at least some initial success in pushing patent monetization entities not to cast the net so broadly.”

• Of the parties who filed the greatest number of patent litigations in the years studied, 9 out of 10 are patent monetization entities and only one is an operating company.

• Mechanisms for notifying the public when patents have been asserted in litigation are woefully inadequate. Despite federal requirements, the system was not operative for more than two-thirds of the patents asserted, which “puts small companies at a disadvantage because they cannot easily tell if a patent has been asserted and what territory is being claimed by the patent holder.”

• The newest patents issued are the most frequently asserted in litigation, which “could be an indication that parties are increasingly filing for patents for the primary purpose of assertion.”

This latest report provides new insight into a growing patent trend. NPEs have been a hot topic recently, prompting attention from Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and even the President.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman