Patent Litigation Reform

The ability of REALTOR®–owned businesses, many of which are small businesses, to grow, innovate and better serve modern consumers is put at risk by frivolous patent litigation.

In 2011, Congress passed legislative reforms to patent law in response to growing concerns that the patent system was unable to deal with challenges presented by several issues:

  • The ever growing number of patent applications being submitted.
  • Increasing complexity of the technology for which a patent is being requested.
  • The growing number of cases of licensing demands being made by holders of obscure software patents.
  • Growing number of patent lawsuits being filed.

Many in the tech industry believe that 2011's reforms did not adequately address the issue of "patent trolls" and that additional legislation is necessary to reduce the costs of litigation caused by "non-practicing patent entities (NPEs)."

The real estate industry is more and more dependent on the use of information technology and software products to market properties and manage their businesses. An increase in patent-infringement claims can drag unsuspecting real estate professionals into expensive and time-consuming litigation putting all REALTORS® at risk. Patent litigation reform could help to more narrowly tailor patents and reduce the scope of future infringement lawsuits.