Feeds

Techies oppose US patent reform bill

Mr WebTV mounts forces

High performance access to file storage

More than 430 organizations spanning all fifty US states have fired off a letter urging Senate leaders to oppose a bill that would overhaul the country's patent system. And that includes tech outfits like Qualcomm and AmberWave.

Last month, after a heavy lobby from the likes of Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft, the US Patent Reform Act was passed by the House of Representatives and a similar bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the proposed law is still awaiting a vote from the Senate as a whole.

The bi-partisan bill seeks to harmonize the US patent system with methods used in other parts of the world and cut back on perceived abuses of the system in the courts. That's right, it's an effort to crack down on so-called patent trolls, those rascally outfits that use their patents solely as a means of nabbing cash from other companies.

The bill's biggest backer is an organization called the Coalition for Patent Fairness, a lobbying group that reads like a who's who of the high-tech industry. Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft are members, as well as Cisco, Dell, HP, Micron, Oracle, and Symantec.

"This is the third consecutive congress where patent reform has come up, and this group, in various forms, has been pushing it," says Michael Siekman, an attorney with the New England patent-focused firm Wolf Greenfield. "These are companies that have been hit with lawsuits that most people think are crazy, and because their products make so much money, the potential damage awards are sky-high."

But not all high-techers approve of this new legislation, which would reduce the damages paid out by patent infringers. Many believe it will end up devaluing patents and curbing American innovation.

That's the stance taken by the Innovation Alliance, a lobbying group behind a letter that just hit the desks of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"This bill contains provisions that will create uncertainty and weaken the enforceability of validly issued patents," the letter reads. "Some of the proposed reform provisions...pose serious negative consequences for continued innovation and American technological leadership in a competitive global economy."

Signers run the gamut from computing and telecom companies to biotech and health care outfits. "What's particularly impressive about this list is that the companies and organizations all signed up to it within two weeks, and it represents about one per cent of US jobs," said Steve Perlman, the founding father of WebTV and one of the leading voices in opposition to the bill.

The letter is also signed by National Association of Patent Practitioners (NAPP), a trade association representing patent agents. "Even the people on the ground floor of the patent process are opposed to the bill," Perlman told us. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.