While there are several anti-patent troll bills pending in Congress, the STOP Act seems to be gaining the greatest traction. It would make the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Transitional Business Method Program permanent and expand it to other industries.

The new post-grant review procedures under the America Invents Act allow a third party to challenge a patent’s invalidity on a number of grounds, including prior art, lack of enablement, lack of novelty, or inadequate written description. Post-grant review allows parties to raise a number of new challenges that were previously reserved for litigation.

Under the proposed legislation, the definition of “covered business methods” would be expanded to include “an enterprise” or “a product.” The STOP Act, sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa and Judy Chu, closely mirrors Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer this spring.

In a letter to leaders of the judiciary committees of both the House and Senate, nearly 50 major U.S. companies, including Morgan Stanley, Google, Wal-Mart and Dell, expressed support for the legislation as a way to combat abusive patent litigation by patent-assertion entities (PAEs).

As the companies explain, “Too often, abusive PAE litigation exploits low-quality business method patents.
The vague and sweeping scope of many business method claims covering straightforward, commonsense steps has led to an explosion of patent claims against processes used every day in common technologies by thousands of businesses and millions of Americans.”

“Expanding an existing Patent Office program, the Covered Business Method (CBM) Program, beyond its current limitation of ‘financial services’ business method patents to all business method patents would accomplish this goal. An expanded CBM Program would enable the Patent Office to reconsider the validity of issued business method patents and provide a targeted “surgical strike” against the worst of these frequently abused patents. And it would increase certainty for innovators actually bringing new products to market, who now face an increasing threat of extortive demands based on low-quality patents,” the letter further argues.

How Can I Help?

I will be closely tracking the status of this legislation and all other patent reform initiatives currently pending in Congress. For additional information about how the proposed changes may impact you or your company, I encourage you to contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +