July 29, 2015

WASHINGTON – Today the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice for the technology sector, added its voice in support of H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, a bipartisan patent reform bill being considered in the House of Representatives. In a letter stating its support for the measure, ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield also urged lawmakers to make improvements to the bill before it is brought up for a vote. Garfield noted there is an opportunity to strengthen the legislation so that it will improve patent quality and put a stop to “patent trolls” that engage in abusive and costly patent litigation that harms U.S. innovation.

July 29, 2015

The Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker and Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), I write to express our support for H.R. 9, the Innovation Act. We urge the House of Representatives to take up this important legislation at the earliest opportunity, and we look forward to working with you and the Judiciary Committee to incorporate some additional changes to enhance the effectiveness of the legislation.

ITI companies are at the forefront of innovation and have some of the largest patent portfolios in the world tied to numerous goods and services offered to governments, commercial enterprises and consumers around the world. All too often, however, our companies must divert resources from their core business to defend themselves against abusive and costly lawsuits. We support efforts to improve patent quality and curtail much of what drives patent litigation abuse. Specifically, we appreciate the underlying bill’s strong fee-shifting provision to give patent assertion entities (PAEs) a disincentive to bring baseless lawsuits, and the changes made during the Judiciary Committee markup that would strengthen the venue language to prevent forum shopping and bolster discovery reform. ITI supports these provisions as they made positive improvements to the bill.

In addition, the Innovation Act, as reported by the Committee, should be further strengthened by including two additional changes. First, we urge you to address the pleadings section of the bill, as reported, by including language that would deter vague pleadings and instead require plaintiffs to identify each claim of each patent that is allegedly infringed.

Second, ITI has concerns with changes in the legislation which would harm patent quality. We do not believe making changes to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) inter partes review (IPR) proceeding will accomplish our shared goal of reducing patent litigation abuse without also undermining patent quality. As a result, we oppose any changes to current law governing IPR proceedings.

The IPR proceeding implemented by the America Invents Act (AIA) has provided a useful tool to challenge the validity of issued patents that should have never been granted in the first place. The inter partes review procedure should be allowed to continue to serve its productive and intended purpose of improving patent quality. We urge the committee to strike language making changes to current IPR proceedings and focus on the need to fix the continued patent litigation abuse problem affecting the technology sector.

We thank you for your commitment to reforming abuse of the patent litigation system. We urge Members to support the Innovation Act and incorporate our aforementioned suggested changes. We look forward to continuing to work with you on the Innovation Act and other issues of interest to the technology sector.

Sincerely,

Dean C. Garfield
President & CEO

cc: Members of the House of Representatives

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Public Policy Tags: Intellectual Property