Patent reform bill nearing House action

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Dec. 4, 2013 – The NAFCU-backed “Innovation Act,” H.R. 3309, on patent reform could get action today or tomorrow on the House floor if the way is cleared by the House Rules Committee.

At press time, the committee was still discussing what amendments may be considered in connection with the bill. The panel will also set rules for proceeding on the bill once it goes to the House floor

The bill was marked up and reported out by the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 33-5 in late November, with a small number of amendments. One of these, by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., would require a Government Accountability Office study on business method patent quality suits, with a report to Congress due in six months. Another, from Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, would authorize the Patent and Trademark Office to consider prosecution history in reviewing patent claims at review stages.

NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler had previously urged committee approval of H.R. 3309, noting the bill “would provide important relief to credit unions by making it faster and more cost effective to prove that a patent is of poor quality in instances where it leads to frivolous infringement litigation.

“A growing number of credit unions are reporting receipt of demand letters from law firms representing ‘patent trollers’ claiming patent infringement with an option to settle or face litigation,” Thaler said.

“Patent troll” is a term for predatory patent assertion entities which profit from unjustified threats of litigation for alleged patent infringement.

Related Links:
"NAFCU at Senate Commerce hearing on patent trolls," 11/6/13