The issue of patent assertion entities, often referred to as “patent trolls,” has been hotly debated within the pharmaceutical and technology industries—as well as amongst lawmakers—for years.
Supporters of patent law reform were disappointed in 2014 when, despite apparent momentum, reform legislation stalled in Congress. States such as Washington have sought to address patent abuse issues raised by constituents. Lawmakers there introduced legislation designed to curb deceptive and frivolous patent infringement lawsuits against businesses. If passed, Washington will join seventeen other states that enacted similar laws in recent years.
Concern with so-called patent trolls has recently spread to other areas of the economy, including brick-and-mortar businesses:
- A variety of industries have joined a lobbying coalition known as United for Patent Reform, which seeks to renew patent reform efforts.
- This coalition is expected to implement a multifaceted strategy aimed at ensuring Congress addresses the issue of patent trolls.
- United for Patent Reform asserts that patent trolls are abusing the current system by filing baseless claims in hopes that the defending company will settle rather than enter a potentially lengthy legal battle.
Not surprisingly, tech giants like Google and Facebook embrace the coalition. However, it also includes companies and lobby groups in the hotel, telecommunication, and restaurant industries. Groups like the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Realtors, and the Internet Association, which includes Amazon and PayPal, have also joined. Considering the broad range of industries involved, United for Patent Reform is the largest patent law reform effort thus far.
For more information about patent law, and how these reforms could impact your business, contact an experienced patent law attorney for legal guidance.