Comments on Enhancing Patent Quality
Internet Association Applauds The United States Patent And Trademark Office’s Efforts In Addressing Low Quality Patents
WASHINGTON DC—Today, the Internet Association submitted comments to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) commending the office’s efforts to enhance patent quality.
“The Internet Association gives its full support to the Patent and Trademark Office in seeking to improve patent quality standards,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “High quality patents promote innovation and encourage inventors to invest in the development of new, useful products. Low quality patents, on the other hand, stifle innovation by creating business uncertainty and opening the door to wasteful litigation. Moving forward, we will continue to provide recommendations to the PTO on how to effectively protect the innovators of America.”
Unfortunately, poor quality patents do not sit idle in today’s legal environment. They are too often acquired by patent assertion entities (PAEs) that use the patents to sue numerous parties and collect settlements from those that cannot afford protracted litigation. Indeed, PAEs particularly prize patents of poorly defined scope because they may leverage that uncertainty to collect larger settlements or create windfall judgments unrelated to the patent’s actual contribution to innovation.
While the Internet Association’s comments maintain there is no single fix for eliminating low quality patents—the PTO’s proposals only address pending patent applications not the millions of patents currently in force–, the group stands behind a number of the PTO’s proposals. Most notably, the Internet Association offers support for PTO proposals that seek to increase the efficiency of the patent review system, such as bringing more clarity to patents and their prosecution record, as well as the office’s willingness to reevaluate its patent quality metrics. The Internet Association also recognizes that the PTO’s resources are limited and that Congressional action is still needed to assist the PTO and to address the current patent litigation boom driven by PAEs asserting low quality patents.