On Feb. 20, the White House unveiled a package of executive actions designed to limit the potential for abuses of the patent system. It also called on Congress to pass legislation. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) announced three new initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of patent trolls on American businesses. The new initiatives include:
- The launch of a website to help consumers and businesses who receive patent troll demand letter s to better understand their rights and get answers to common questions.
- An initiative to create new ways to crowdsource prior art—to assist in sharing the technical information needed to determine when an inventions is truly novel.
- A draft rule that aims to increase transparency in patent ownership in an effort to make it harder to hide abusive litigation tactics behind shell companies.
While the Administration’s efforts should provide welcome relief to this growing problem, legislative change is sorely needed. NAR has been working with a coalition of main street businesses to pass common sense patent litigation reform. The House passed legislation late last year—it is now up to the Senate to act.