San Francisco - Patents are supposed to foster innovation, but modern software patents have been weaponized against inventors. Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is launching "Defend Innovation," a new patent reform project to promote seven fixes for America's patent system.

"The software patent system is broken. Patents are supposed to help promote new inventions and ideas, but software patents are chronically misused to limit competition, quash new tools and products, and shake down companies big and small," said EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels. "It's time for Internet users, inventors, activists, and academics to team up and fix the problem."

EFF has posted seven proposals for software patent reform at, including shortening the term for software patents from 20 years to no more than five years, allowing winning parties in litigation to recover fees and costs, and ensuring that infringers who arrive at a patented idea independently aren't held liable, for example. EFF is asking the public to sign on to the proposals and to make additional comments of their own. Additionally, we're calling on individual inventors, lawyers, and academics to give feedback, and we're asking technology companies to continue the conversation with in-person meetings with EFF staff. EFF will take the results from these comments and meetings and create a whitepaper to help educate lawmakers and others about the full reach of the problem and next steps forward to fix it.

"The U.S. Patent Office is overwhelmed and underfunded, and issues questionable patents every day – patents that hurt innovators and consumers alike," said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman. "It's time for the technology community to work together to create a blueprint for reforming the broken software patent system."

Help EFF Defend Innovation:


Julie Samuels
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation

Rainey Reitman
   Activism Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation