Patents News

Dec. 7, 2015

Inventors Digest Opinion: Five Ways Patent Litigation Abuse Is Being Solved – Without Legislation, by Jeffrey Birchak

This post originally appeared in Inventors Digest on December 7, 2015

While Congress debates controversial patent legislation that weakens United States patent rights, other branches of government have already solved many of the narrow problems that arise from abusive patent litigation – without harming legitimate patent owners. The overly broad patent bills pending in Congress will hurt innovators by taking away incentives to invent and fund new technologies, make it easier to copy United States innovations and diminish American leadership in the global innovation economy. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, the lower federal courts, the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Federal Trade Commission and the state governments are all working to reduce abusive litigation while preserving inventors’ rights to enforce their patents – without new legislation. And their work is paying off.

1. More weak patents are being invalidated than ever before. Since the Supreme Court’s June 2014 Alice v. CLS Bank case, which held that “abstract” ideas implemented by computer cannot be patented, over 70 percent of all patents challenged in court under Alice have been invalidated. In fact, more patents have been invalidated in the past year than in the previous five years combined. Just this month, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas – the district that hears by far the most patent cases in the country – relied on Alice to dismiss 168 cases concerning a single patent, instantly ending nearly 10 percent of all patent cases filed in that court this year.