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WASHINGTON, D.C. — NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, has joined with more than 20 groups, industries and companies that support patent reform to create the United for Patent Reform coalition. This group is united around a set of core principals designed to rein in the abuses patent trolls inflict on businesses, job growth innovation and the economy.
According to the coalition, patent trolls are those who hold businesses of all sizes from all industry sectors hostage by filing frivolous lawsuits and overly broad claims of infringement. Abuse of the U.S. patent system continues despite the passage of the America Invents Act and other recent positive rulings from the Supreme Court.
Rather than work toward incremental victories or invalidate specific patents, United for Patent Reform intends to take back a patent system that is increasingly held hostage by patent trolls, according to the announcement. This would return the patent system to its original purpose of fostering innovation and investment.
On Jan. 15, the coalition sent a letter to congressional leaders and members of the judiciary committees in the Senate and House of Representatives that outlines the principles that should be included in strong patent reform legislation:
- Reform abusive demand letters: Require that patent demand letters include truthful, basic information and not vague, deceptive letters used to bully individuals and businesses for monetary gain.
- Make trolls explain their claims: Patent owners must explain in detail the basis for alleged infringement when they file a complaint.
- Protect innocent customers: Ensure that claims between a patent owner and a manufacturer proceed before claims between patent owner and the manufacturer's end user. Currently, anyone can be sued for infringement simply for using a product, system or method.
- Make patent litigation more efficient: Increased efficiency will force weak causes to be dismissed before the expensive discovery phase.
- Stop discovery abuses: Require patent trolls to pay for the discovery they request beyond core documents to prevent them from running up costs to force a settlement.
- Make abusive trolls pay: Require that a losing party that brings a frivolous case before the courts pay the other side's attorney's fees, and require that they can pay.
- Provide less expensive alternatives: Maintain and improve administrative alternatives to litigation.
Along with founding member NACS, other United for Patent Reform members include the National Retail Federation, National Restaurant Association, the Coalition for Patent Fairness and many more. More information is available at www.unitedforpatentreform.com.