Tell Congress That It's Time To Fight Patent Trolls And Support Open Innovation (Before They Get Distracted)
from the speak-out dept
As part of our sponsorship program with the Application Developers Alliance, we're highlighting some of their key initiatives that we think Techdirt readers might want to get involved in.
With patent reform getting more and more attention in Congress, and a lot of the focus falling on the problem of patent trolls, there's a real opportunity right now for people to have their voice heard. There's still a lot of discussion and revision that has to happen before we see anything close to finished legislation with a real chance of passing, and that means this is the time to make sure Congress stays clear on the real issues and crafts solutions that actually work.
To that end, the Application Developers Alliance is running two campaigns to help get the message to Washington. First is the Fight Patent Trolls initiative, which includes a tool for sending a letter to Senators and Representatives. As usual, we recommend customizing your letter, but the default text includes some good key action points:
- Create a cheaper, faster alternative to litigation by allowing the Patent Office to review challenges - when evidence justifies - of low quality business method patents. This would give start-ups a chance to fight against the bad quality patents that are trolls' main ammunition.
- Require the Patent Office to create public searchable demand letter databases so we can track the basis and volume of patent claims and quickly identify abusive trolls.
- Reduce litigation costs by requiring parties to pay if they demand more than "core" technology documents, which are generally all that is needed to know if a technology is infringing.
- Protect end-users of off-the-shelf hardware and software. Just as coffee shops should not be sued for providing wi-fi to customers, app developers should not be sued for using off-the-shelf APIs that infringe a patent.
The second campaign is Innovators Need Patent Reform, an open letter to Congress that makes the same key points along with a public list of signers.
As both letters note, there are already proposals in both the House and the Senate, plus recommendations from the President, that contain some of the all-important protections that the victims of patent trolls need. Though the future of these specific bills is uncertain, the building blocks are beginning to fall into place, and it's time to run with that momentum.
This post is sponsored by the Application Developers Alliance. Find more info on patents and other issues that affect developers at DevsBuild.It