A patent gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, sell, and import an invention for 20 years. High-quality patents protect investments in technology and reduce wasteful litigation that are encouraged by vague, low-quality patents. The threat of a lawsuit for infringing on a vague, low quality patent like “scan to email” or “bilateral and multilateral decision making,” can be crippling for small businesses. It’s much harder to invest in a new shop floor, or hire new employees when the threat of a spurious patent suit – that, at a minimum, will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (and possibly millions) to defend – hangs over your head.
The internet industry supports policies established by Congress, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the courts to address patent trolls and enhance the quality of patents. Patent trolls are entities that seek to capitalize on low-quality patents by initiating expensive litigation that divertes corporate resources away from productive research and development, and disrupts the advancement of technology. IA supports policies including:
- The high bar for patent eligibility set forth in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, which helps ensure that patents issued by the USPTO are of the highest standard and are not granted for abstract ideas.
- Robust, effective post-grant review programs, including inter partes review (IPR), which reduce the number of patents that can be used for frivolous litigation.