July 09, 2014

NAFCU, other trades urge patent reform

July 10, 2014 – NAFCU and other financial trades urged the leaders of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Wednesday to approve legislation to bring about patent reform and ensure its effectiveness in advance of a mark-up slated for this morning.

The letter was signed by NAFCU, CUNA, the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America. They wrote: "Financial institutions of every size have been targeted by Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), often referred to as patent trolls, who in most cases assert patents of dubious quality through vaguely worded demand letters or intentionally vague complaints. Indeed, patent trolls' recent focus on credit unions and community banks threatens to pose additional, unwarranted costs on lenders and the communities they serve."

The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee heard opening statements on Wednesday on a series of bills, including one to bring about patent reform. It will convene again at 10 a.m. today to commence mark-up of the bills.

One of the bills is the "Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act," which aims to provide further protection for businesses from so-called patent trolls, which profit from frivolous demand letters and lawsuits. Introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Lee Terry, R-Neb., the measure has been updated since the panel last reviewed it in May.

The letter signers also encouraged the subcommittee to expand the definition of "bad faith" in the legislation to protect more businesses and to limit the number of exceptions for patent trolls.

NAFCU has been working for patent reform as a growing number of credit unions report the receipt of demand letters from patent assertion entities. These often target the use of commonly used technology.