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White House Renews Patent Reform Push

CEA applauds efforts to curb patent litigation “abuse”

President Obama’s White House has revealed a new set of executive actions to combat so-called “patent trolls.”

The issue is of interest to radio since now radio groups are facing lawsuits over the use of music storage and automation as well as in-band, on-channel digital radio technologies.

CEA President Gary Shapiro praises the White House for its “aggressive efforts to drive patent trolls back under the bridge.”

“In 2011, 90% of companies facing patent suits were small businesses making an average of $11 million per year,” says Shapiro. “As these businesses decided to settle out of court rather than face multimillion dollar patent litigation, the U.S. economy lost more than $320 billion to trolls in just the last four years. This extortion not only costs us jobs, but also drives up the prices of our most innovative products and services.”

The White House in June pushed for patent reform. At a tech summit Thursday, the Obama Administration announced three new initiatives.

As outlined in The Hill, the first initiative would have companies publicly explain the technical details of the tech they’re using, helping patent examiners know what’s in use so they don’t award more patents for the same technology.

The administration asked tech companies to help train patent examiners and additionally, the White House announced an increase in its pro bono services for small inventors who can’t afford legal services, according to the account.

President Obama repeated his call for patent reform in last month’s State of the Union address, asking lawmakers to pass patent reform legislation.

In Congress, the House passed a measure last year to make companies alleging patent fraud more transparent about who’s making the allegation and detail what technologies they assert are being infringed upon in their initial demand letter, we’ve reported.

The administration and CEA’s Shapiro this week called for the Senate to act as well.