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Letter calls for 'meaningful patent reform now'
WASHINGTON (5/12/14)--A letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee is calling for "meaningful patent reform now" on the federal level, and states continue to raise their voices against abusive patent "trolls."
The Credit Union National Association, as well as other members of the Main Street Patent Coalition, addressed today's letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the committee, and its ranking member, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
Leahy has introduced the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 (S. 1720) but postponed last week's committee vote on the bill.
The need for patent reform is not in question, the CUNA letter emphasized, and now is the time to fix the problem.
"Main street businesses provide jobs and services in our communities; patent trolls leach away billions of dollars and provide nothing in return," the letter noted. "The patent system must be modernized to stop this abuse."
Eliminating trolls' preferred weapons such as frivolous demand--or patent assertion--letters, would not injure legitimate companies, or devalue or degrade their patents, it said. "We believe that it is wholly possible to keep the U.S. patent system's original intent intact while at the same time shielding businesses from abuses made possible by a lack of smart, modern day policies within that system."
In the letter, the coalition noted its support of legislation that makes it easier to:
  • Eliminate trolls' ability to hide behind shell corporations;
  • Make it easier to punish trolls that send fraudulent and abusive shakedown demand letters;
  • Protect end users by providing a consistent application of the customer stay when the manufacturer is best positioned to fight the troll, and ensure that the stay provision adequately covers and shields main street businesses;
  • Make trolls pay when they sue companies frivolously and stop runaway litigation cost; and
  • Disarm trolls by improving patent quality and providing a way to fight bad patents.
Meanwhile, the Vermont state Senate Friday unanimously approved a resolution relating to bad faith patent assertion--a resolution that had been introduced just one day prior. It specifically "supports congressional efforts to eliminate patent abuse in the form of bad faith patent assertion and the need for strong federal legislation, including fee shifting, more stringent pleading standards, and limitations on the initial discovery process."
The Main Street Patent Coalition is a national coalition of business organizations that represents businesses in every community that are being harmed by the predatory practices of patent trolls.
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CUNA letter (PDF)
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