Two Senators are working on a bill that will make it much easier to get, and threaten lawsuits over, worthless patents. That will make small businesses even more vulnerable to patent trolls, and raise prices for consumers. We need to speak up now and tell Congress this is the wrong direction for the U.S. patent system.
Tell Congress we don't need more bad patents
There’s no published bill yet, but Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have published a “framework” outlining how they intend to undermine Section 101 of the U.S. patent law. That’s the section of law that forbids patents on abstract ideas, laws of nature, and things that occur in nature.
Section 101’s longstanding requirement should be uncontroversial—applicants have to claim a “new and useful” invention to get a patent—a requirement that, remarkably, Tillis and Coons say they will dismantle.
In recent years, important Supreme Court rulings like Alice v. CLS Bank have ensured that courts give full effect to Section 101. That’s given small businesses a fighting chance against meritless patents, since they can be evaluated—and thrown out—at early stages of a lawsuit.
Check out the businesses we profile in our “Saved by Alice” page. Patent trolls sued a bike shop over message notifications; a photographer for running online contests; and a startup that put restaurant menus online. It’s ridiculous that patents were granted on such basic practices—and it would be even more outrageous if those businesses had to hire experts, undergo expensive discovery, and endure a jury trial before they get a serious evaluation of such “inventions.”
Listen to our interview with Justus Decher. Decher’s health company was threatened by a company called MyHealth over a patent on “remote patient monitoring.” MyHealth never built a product, but they demanded $25,000 from Decher—even before his business had any profits.
Why is the Tillis-Coons proposal moving forward? Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are working together with lobbyists for patent lawyers and companies that have aggressive licensing practices. They’re pushing a false narrative about the need to resolve “uncertainty” in the patent law. But the only uncertainty produced by a strong Section 101 is in the profit margins of patent trolls and the lawyers filing their meritless lawsuits.
Tell Congress—don’t feed the patent trolls. Say no to the Tillis-Coons patent proposal.
TELL CONGRESS WE DON'T NEED MORE BAD PATENTS