Creativity & Innovation

Tell Congress: We Can't Afford More Bad Patents

Patent troll warning

Congress is pushing two bills that would bring back some of the worst patents and empower patent trolls.

The Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (PERA), S. 2140, would throw out crucial rules that ban patents on many abstract ideas. Courts will be ordered to approve patents on things like ordering food on a mobile phone or doing basic financial functions online. If PERA Passes, the floodgates will open for these vague software patents that will be used to sue small companies and individuals. This bill even allows for a type of patent on human genes that the Supreme Court rightly disallowed in 2013.

A second bill, the PREVAIL Act, S. 2220, would sharply limit the public’s right to challenge patents that never should have been granted in the first place.

Patent trolls—companies that have no product or service of their own, but simply make patent infringement demands on others—are a big problem. They’ve cost our economy billions of dollars. For a small company, a patent troll demand letter can be ruinous.

We took a big step towards fighting off patent trolls in 2014, when a landmark Supreme Court ruling, the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank case, established that you can’t get a patent by adding “on a computer” to an abstract idea. In 2012, Congress also expanded the ways that a patent can be challenged at the patent office.

These two bills, PERA and PREVAIL, would roll back both of those critical protections against patent trolls. We know that the bill sponsors, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) are pushing hard for these bills to move forward. We need your help to tell Congress that it’s the wrong move.


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