April 03, 2014

Trades urge Senate Judiciary to OK patent reform

April 4, 2014 – NAFCU and other financial trade associations on Thursday jointly urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass patent reform legislation and thanked the committee for its leadership on the issue.

The trades, in a letter, urged the passage of S. 1720, the "Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013," which is aimed at increasing transparency in the ownership of patents and protecting consumers targeted with frivolous lawsuits related to patent infringement. The letter was sent to committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and committee member Mike Lee, R-Utah.

"S. 1720 has the potential to constrain the abuse of the patent system by implementing needed reforms and bringing much needed transparency to the patent process," states the letter, signed by NAFCU, the American Bankers Association, CUNA and Independent Community Bankers of America. The committee on Thursday began consideration of this legislation authored by Leahy.

The committee announced it will reconvene April 8 to consider Leahy's legislation further; that gives committee members time to post amendments. If more work is needed after April 8, the committee will resume its discussion April 10.

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 Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would help discourage patent trolls from filing frivolous lawsuits.

Also on Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing addressing abusive patent demand letters.