Patent official says legislation needed to stop abusive patent demands
April 14, 2015
WASHINGTON (4/15/15)--Speaking before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Michelle Lee, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), said legislation to curtail abusive patent litigation is necessary and appropriate at this time.
During a hearing on the Innovation Act (H.R. 9), Lee said the USPTO generally supports the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in February.
CUNA signed a letter to the committee earlier this month, saying that any legislation on patent reform should address vaguely worded demand letters and make the Covered Business Method, which allows for an administrative trial to determine a patent's validity, permanent.
CUNA believes Goodlatte's bill contains some positive elements, but is pushing for additional protections from abusive patent demands.
"There is a continuing need to find ways to strengthen the patent system by leveling the playing field for innovators and increasing the transparency of patent ownership information," Lee said.
Lee said the USPTO supports legislative proposals that would:
Provide the financial incentives to pursue meritorious claims and defenses,
Increase the notice provided both in demand letters and complaints in patent disputes;
Help focus discovery, including by heightening pleading requirements and shifting fees in unreasonable cases;
Protect consumers and retailers while the manufacturer of the allegedly infringing product litigates the dispute;
Provide important ongoing license rights to U.S. patents repudiated or rejected in a foreign bankruptcy proceeding; and
Increase transparency of patent ownership information.