Thursday, March 05, 2015

EFF opposes Coons' STRONG patent reform bill

Needless to say, EFF opposes the Coons bill, noting among other things:


First, it imposes standing requirements that would bar groups like EFF from challenging bad patents in the public interest. The bill states that you would only be able to challenge patents in an adversarial proceeding at the Patent Office (meaning you get to be there to argue back against what the patent owner says) if you have been sued or if you are "charged with infringement." A measure like this would have effectively stopped EFF from engaging in our Save Podcasting campaign against the patent troll Personal Audio.

This is bad. EFF, through sites like Trolling Effects and those who reach out to us, is in an important position to notice when a bunch of startups and end users are receiving particularly egregious demand letters or suits. Although we can’t challenge every awful patent we see (we simply don’t have the resources), the STRONG Patents Act would prevent us from stepping in to meaningfully challenge any bad patent. The ability for public interest groups like us to do so is critical—patent owners could otherwise craft their demands to make it less worthwhile or feasible for any one accused party to challenge a patent. Affected individuals—podcasters, for example—simply don't have the resources to dispute the patents themselves.


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