The Government Accountability Office released a report pointing to low quality software patents as the main cause leading to the increase in patent infringement litigation.  The GAO was initially tasked with investigating the role of non-practicing entities, or trolls, in this upwards trend in patent litigation.  The report, however, surprised many by attributing less than 20% of patent litigation on patent monetization entities.  They reported that 89% of the increase in litigation could be attributed to unclear or overly broad software claims.

Other governmental actors are also involved in slowing the rise of patent litigation.  The USPTO has been acting to improve quality of software patents, attempting to define uniform software terminology.  Congress is proposing four bills to address abusive litigation by patent trolls, and two bills to address “bad patents” favored by trolls.

The GAO report encourages increasing the transparency of proceedings so that real party in interest is reported.  But it maintained that the main issue is the unclear property rights in low-quality software patents resulting in the over-abundance of litigation.

The executive director American Intellectual Property Law Association endorsed better training and knowledge of USPTO examiners as a way to curb the prevalence of bad patents.  BSA The Software Alliance applauded efforts to improve quality as a way to contain litigation brought by patent trolls.  Others hope that these findings will lead to legislation to stop the abusive practices of patent trolls.  If the findings of the GAO report are correct, the focus on improving patent quality should ultimately lead to a decrease in litigation.

As always, the best option to protect your rights remains a strong and well-drafted patent.  Please feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at 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 +