CU rep testifies Tuesday on patent-troll abuses

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Dec. 16, 2013 – Problems credit unions are having with demand letters from patent trolls will be detailed in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday by John Dwyer, president and CEO of New England FCU of Williston, Vt., a NAFCU member.

The hearing, “Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse,” will be led by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Leahy is an author of the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which called for, among other things, improved post-grant reviews of the validity of business-method patents.

In response to the growing problem of patent trolls, Leahy and committee member Mike Lee, R-Utah, have introduced the “Patent Transparency and Improvements Act” to increase transparency in the ownership of patents and protect those targeted with frivolous lawsuits related to patent infringement. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is an original cosponsor.

NAFCU is working strongly in support of such measures, including the recently House-passed H.R. 3309, the “Innovation Act,” introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. H.R. 3309 builds upon the Leahy-Smith Act by requiring those alleging infringement to give the specifics of what and whose patent is infringed, and how it is infringed; limit discovery requirements; and allow courts to shift legal costs to winning parties.

Tuesday’s hearing will also include witnesses from the Printing Industries of America, Adobe Systems Inc., the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and AMD. A former intellectual property official at the Patent and Trademark Office is also slated to testify.