May 12, 2014

NAFCU, others urge Senate panel on patent reform

May 13, 2014 – NAFCU joined with several other organizations Monday to urge Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to put a stop to patent abuse with legislation that would provide relief from frivolous lawsuits.

"Delay in enacting reforms simply empowers patent trolls and permits even greater harm to Main Street businesses and our economy. The Judiciary Committee must take action now to respond to these clear abuses," the groups said in their letter to the committee leaders.

To stop patent abuse, the organizations recommended:

  • eliminating patent trolls' ability to hide behind shell corporations;
  • making it easier to punish trolls that send fraudulent and abusive demand letters;
  • making trolls pay when they file frivolous cases; and
  • disarming trolls by improving patent quality and providing a way to fight bad patents.

The letter was sent by the Main Street Patent Coalition, a national, non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to stopping patent abuse from trolls by encouraging Congress to pass reform legislation. Members of the coalition and signers of the letter, along with NAFCU, include the National Association of Home Builders, Independent Community Bankers of America, American Bankers Association, Printing Industries of America, American Gaming Association, CUNA, National Association of Realtors and more.

The Senate Judiciary Committee may hold a mark-up Thursday of S. 1720, the "Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013." This bill, introduced by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is meant to increase transparency in the ownership of patents and protect consumers against frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits.

NAFCU has been working in support of patent reform legislation, including House-passed H.R. 3309, the "Innovation Act," introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and two separate bills from Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Hatch that would help discourage patent trolls from filing frivolous lawsuits.