WASHINGTON, DC — October 23, 2013 —
BSA | The Software Alliance today urged Congress to enact legislation that reduces the incentive for bad actors to engage in abusive patent litigation — an approach that has broad-based support — and cautioned against measures that risk undermining American innovation and competitiveness by disrupting the patent system itself.
BSA’s comments came as House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte introduced the Improving the Patent System to Promote American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.
“Chairman Goodlatte’s bill includes important reform measures that will reduce the financial incentive for bad actors to engage in abusive patent litigation. Those proposals enjoy broad-based support among stakeholders, and we urge Congress to move them forward,” said BSA Senior Vice President for External Affairs Matt Reid. “It is important to remember that predatory litigation practices are the problem, not the patent system itself. Legislation to curb abuses by bad actors must carefully preserve incentives for innovation.”
“There is a clear consensus among stakeholders across the spectrum that it makes sense to target abusive litigation practices,” said Reid. “BSA and more than 60 other companies, industry associations and public interest groups have called on Congress to enact common-sense judicial modernization measures such as allowing fee shifting, curbing discovery abuse, making patent cases more efficient, and requiring plaintiffs to be precise in their claims of infringement. If lawmakers keep the focus on those measures, there is a real opportunity to capitalize on the political consensus and enact effective legislation.”
“BSA and a broad cross-section of other innovative industries oppose expanding the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents because it risks undermining innovation incentives by disrupting the patent system itself,” Reid said. “We share the Chairman’s desire to protect innocent customers, but we are concerned that proposed language to provide customer stays could inadvertently create loopholes that bad actors will use to game the system. Pressing forward with these types of measures would unravel political consensus and hurt the chances of passing needed legislation. Finally, we are concerned that requiring the Patent and Trademark Office to change the way it interprets patent claims in review proceedings would benefit predatory litigants rather than deter them.”
“We applaud Chairman Goodlatte’s determination to address the problem of abusive patent litigation, because it is a drag on innovation and economic growth,” said Reid. “We look forward to working with the Chairman and other Members of Congress to craft legislation that deters bad actors while encouraging innovation.”