The White House’s push on ‘patent trolls’

June 9, 2013
Legislation

1. Require entities seeking patent infringement lawsuit to disclose who owns them or their parent company.

2. Give courts more discretion to make “patent trolls” pay legal fees for the other side in the case of abusive litigation.

3. Expand category of patents that deal with business processes (i.e. the method behind buying or selling stocks, or determining price of insurance plans) that can be challenged to include computer-enabled patents.

4. Protect consumers and businesses that use products containing disputed patents from getting sued.

5. Have the U.S. International Trade Commission, which investigates claims of patent infringement by imported goods, apply a standard that would be more favorable to companies that get sued for patent infringement.

6. Provide incentives to those filing demand letters (seeking licensing fees or threatening litigation) to make those letters publicly accessible and searchable.

7. Ensure the ITC has flexibility in hiring qualified administrative law judges.

Executive actions

1. Have Patent and Trademark Office require patent applicants to disclose and regularly update ownership information.

2. Have the PTO hold new training for patent examiners on how to make patents less broad and more specific.

3. Have the PTO publish educational materials, including a Web site, that answers commonly asked questions about what consumers and retailers who use products containing patented technology should do if contacted by a “patent troll.”

4. Expand outreach to public to get input on patent policies.

5. Better enforce exclusion orders, which ban infringed goods from being imported.

— C.H.

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