WASHINGTON (12/13/13)--Noting that the fight for patent litigation reform and demand letter relief "is truly a Main Street issue," the Credit Union National Association urged Senate lawmakers to protect businesses of all sizes from the "smash and grab tactics" employed by patent trolls.
In a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, CUNA and its consigners applauded ongoing bipartisan efforts in the U.S. Congress to curb abusive patent litigation. The letter was sent to the committee's chairman, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), and its ranking member, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), as well as to the chairman of that panel's subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety, and insurance, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and the subcommittee's ranking member Dean Heller (R-Nev.).
The Innovation Act of 2013 (H.R. 3309), which would remove some of the financial incentives sought by firms that assert low-quality patents in the hope of quick settlements, was approved by the U.S. House last week on a 325 to 91 vote. It has moved on to the Senate.
So-called "patent trolls" continue to use low-quality patents to try to extract settlements from credit unions and others. Credit unions have been sued for the use of certain ATM technologies, check imaging applications and check cashing applications, and providing members with mobile transactions through their smartphones.
CUNA and others in the letter noted that "vague and misleading pre-litigation demand letters are at the very center of the patent troll problem. Many, if not most claims begin and end with a demand letter as companies quickly pay undeserved "licensing fees," to simply make the patent troll go away."