When Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced on May 21 that he was pulling patent reform off the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee, commentators were quick to pass judgment: "Patent reform is dead." These reform efforts were meant to address the growing concern over patent assertion entities (PAEs) or non-practicing entities (NPEs), better known by the more pejorative nickname, "patent trolls." However, some hope remains for the ongoing legislative effort to solve PAE litigation issues. Patent reform may have been tabled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but two patent reform bills are still alive in Congress. Both bills aim to prevent abusive practices by targeting illegitimate patent demand letters.

Background to Demand Letter Reform Legislation -

PAEs acquire patents, but do not actually use them in any products or services. Instead, they pursue potential patent infringers and demand licensing fees by sending patent demand letters. These demand letters tend to contain vague or misleading language, but threaten recipients with costly infringement litigation if the licenses are not paid. PAEs often send out demand letters by the thousands, without making a genuine inquiry into the merits for each targeted individual.

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Topics:  Demand Letter, Legislative Agendas, Non-Practicing Entities, Patent Assertion Entities, Patent Litigation, Patent Reform, Patent Trolls, Patents, Proposed Legislation

Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, General Business Updates, Elections & Politics Updates, Intellectual Property Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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