FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Vicki Christner – CUNA Communications; (202) 508-6754; firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2015) – The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), along with nine other financial service industry trade groups, sent a letter to members of Congress today urging them to address patent reform. The groups named three key principles that, if enacted through legislation, would improve the patent system, promote innovation and discourage the assertion of low-quality patents as a legitimate business model:
See the full letter below:
January 28, 2015
The financial services industry, like many other sectors of the economy, has faced deceptive demand letters and frivolous litigation from patent trolls asserting low-quality patents. The undersigned national trade associations representing all sectors of the industry—from commercial banks and credit unions of all sizes and business models to asset managers and insurance providers and their independent or captive insurance agents—are writing you today to urge Congress to address the scourge that patent trolls continue to have on, collectively, the millions of customers we serve across the nation. Since the enactment of the “America Invents Act of 2011,” Congress has made strides to address the fraudulent practices of patent trolls but more work is required to disrupt their extortive and disruptive business model.
We have serious concerns about the current patent litigation environment as well as the quality of patents granted by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). In addition, patent trolls continue to assert low-quality patents through vaguely worded demand letters with the full knowledge that their targets, our members, are more likely to pay unnecessary licensing agreements then engage in lengthy, costly litigation. The deadweight cost of compliance with demand letters and the threat of litigation is ultimately born by our customers.
To that end, the financial services industry has coalesced around a set of key principles needed to address this critical issue. These principles fall into three distinct yet interrelated baskets that, if enacted, would improve the patent system, promote innovation and discourage the assertion of low-quality patents as a legitimate business model:
1) Efficiency of the Litigation Process: improvements need to be made to make the cost and burdens of patent litigation equitable and more efficient.
2) Enhanced Transparency: abuse of the patent system through the use of vaguely worded demand letters must be ended by requiring such letters to provide more details about the patent and who claims to assert it.
3) Patent quality: improvements are needed in the post-grant review of patents such as making the Covered Business Method (CBM) permanent and more useable for smaller entities.
Collectively, the following principles will go a long way in protecting the financial services sector and the millions of customers our members interact with on a daily basis from the harm wrought by patent trolls. As the issue of patent reform unfolds in the 114th Congress we look forward to working with you to advance these core principles.
American Bankers Association
American Insurance Association
The Clearing House
Credit Union National Association
Financial Services Roundtable
Independent Community Bankers of America
Mortgage Bankers Association
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association
National Association of Federal Credit Unions
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Below please find a set of principles that the financial services sector is advocating for inclusion in any patent reform legislation during the 114th Congress: