Here at BLLAWG we discuss patents and patent trolls quite often. It is much rarer to see bright spots for a potential overhaul of our current patent system that allows those who abuse it to profit and proliferate. On Wednesday, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a group that includes several tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook, launched a new website called patent progress. The site features plain English explanations for problems with the patent system and terms like ‘patent troll’ and ‘prior art,’ with several leading antitrust experts contributing content. The CCIA hopes to build a narrative to take advantage of growing buzz surrounding patent reform in Congress and the justice system.
A website by itself obviously can’t turn the tide against the multi-billion dollar patent trolling industry, but it is indicative of an increasingly public campaign to change the way patents are awarded and how they operate to better reflect modern technology and its realities. A successful public awareness campaign could pay huge dividends to the tech companies who must currently fight off or pay out settlements on the exploding number of patent lawsuits both in America and abroad. If consumers realize that those billions of dollars they hear about Google paying out in the news are costs that some way or another are passed onto them, that could create enough impetus in Washington for a much needed change to the patent system.
For more information about the state of patents in the US as well as specific patent lawsuits take a look at the following articles: