Patent reform is a top priority for the i2Coaltion. The frivolous lawsuits filed by Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) hinder innovation and unfairly target our industry. As such, the i2Coalition proudly endorses Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013. The i2Coalition’s Public Policy Working Group carefully reviewed the bill, finding that it would solve many of the problems without fundamentally altering the goals of the current patent system: rewarding investment in ideas.
There are several key elements in Sen. Cornyn’s legislation that favorably reform the current system. The bill would require that the actual infringement be identified in the claim filed by PAEs, thus removing the ambiguity of the allegations of infringement and requiring that the alleged infringement be connected to the patent in question.
Another important element of the bill is requiring that each party with a financial interest in the patent be disclosed. Under the proposed legislation, all parties are joined, which helps stop the shell games that PAEs play by requiring disclosure of the real party of interest.
Additionally, the proposed law would preserve judicial discretion in construing patents by allowing for additional discovery. This helps balance costs by pending discovery until after a hearing on patent construction is held. Currently, discovery can take place before this hearing, which means that there can be a huge discovery cost before you even know whether the patent is valid and is often used to force settlements.
The i2Coalition applauds Sen. Cornyn for taking needed action to stop PAEs and their baseless lawsuits that stifle advancement and put unnecessary financial burden on our industry. This legislation is a strong first step to reforming the system and I hope you’ll join the i2Coalition in thanking Sen. Cornyn for introducing this important legislative initiative.