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News Now

Washington
CUNA Witness Will Testify on Patent Issues This Week
WASHINGTON (12/16/13)--John Dwyer, president/CEO of New England FCU, Williston, Vt., will discuss credit union patent troll concerns in a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Dwyer will testify on behalf of the Credit Union National Association and his credit union at the hearing, "Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse." 

CUNA will be the only group testifying representing financial institutions.

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 early this month on a 325 to 91 vote.

The Senate is preparing to consider the issue. Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and others have introduced their own bills to address the problem. (See Dec. 13 News Now item: CUNA Urges Hill Action on 'Main Street' Patent Reform.)

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.

Credit unions and others have also received vague demand letters from patent trolls, and CUNA hopes to see reforms that will affect these demand letters.

Dwyer is a member of CUNA's Federal Credit Union Subcommittee and is one of four credit union representatives on the 12-member Federal Reserve Bank of Boston First District Community Depository Institution Advisory Council.


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