Patent abuse's effects on FIs outlined for Hill staff by CUNA, trades

September 2, 2015

WASHINGTON (9/2/15)--CUNA and other financial trade organizations addressed members of staff from several Congressional offices Monday to outline how patent assertion entities are affecting financial institutions. CUNA and other financial trade associations used the briefing as a way to keep pressure on Congress to address this issue.

Patent assertion entities, otherwise known as “patent trolls,” seek to extort businesses by sending vaguely worded demand letters alleging infringement of a patent and demanding licensing fees or threatening a lawsuit.

The briefing emphasized several key principles that CUNA and its partners say must be part of any patent reform legislation: greater specifics in demand letters and an extension of the covered business method (CBM).

Patent demand letters should contain clear and detailed information such as the owner of the patent, what entities have a financial interest in the patent, what product or service is allegedly infringing on the patent and how it is being infringed upon.

The CBM is a program of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office that allows for a post-grant review of patents. It is a temporary program, and CUNA and its partners have urged Congress to pass legislation that would make it permanent.

The Innovation Act (H.R. 9) is an example of legislation that does not go far enough in CUNA’s opinion. CUNA wrote to Congress during H.R. 9’s markup in June outlining the reasons why.

 The Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act (S. 1137) would require more specific language in patent demand letters, and CUNA has pushed for Congress to further enhance that bill.