One of our core values at Rackspace is transparency. “Transparency and full disclosure” is written on the walls throughout all of our offices. It’s on the doors of our meeting rooms. It’s not just lip service; it’s a value we hold dear.
The State of the Union Address is the time for the President and the nation to reflect on the previous year and plot the course for the future. And last night, President Obama highlighted an issue that we at Rackspace hold near and dear when he called for Congress to take action on a patent reform bill he said will empower businesses to focus on innovation without the fear of being targeted by patent trolls.
The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly (325 to 91) passed the Innovation Act (HR 3309), a major blow to non-practicing entities (NPEs), more commonly known as patent trolls, and their ability to stifle innovation and leverage the legal system to extort money from businesses, developers and individuals.
The Innovation Act (HR 3309) – a bill we support and recently blogged about — is headed to markup by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, November 20. The bill is designed to curtail patent troll lawsuits by making a number of changes to how patents are litigated. It is the single most comprehensive patent reform bill to reach a markup since the America Invents Act was passed in 2011. We commend Chairman Bob Goodlatte for his leadership and hard work to get this bill where it is. It is a big step forward.
Today, the ongoing war against patent trolls and the push for sorely-needed patent law reform took a massive step forward. House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the Innovation Act of 2013, a long-awaited, aggressive piece of legislation that aims to thwart patent trolls and their spurious lawsuits. Chairman Goodlatte and his staff have been working hard on this bill for several months. They sought and received input from literally hundreds of stakeholders, including American businesses, members of Congress, the US Patent Office, prominent patent lawyers, judges, trade associations and educators. This is a well-thought out piece of legislation.
By now we’ve all heard about the enormous damage that patent trolls inflict on U.S. companies, large and small. Business owners are telling their stories, sharing information about the demand letters they receive and the vexatious lawsuits they are forced to defend. Still, most of the shake downs and payoffs are done in private, cloaked in secrecy and protected by so called “confidentiality agreements.” Now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to get a better understanding of patent trolls by going directly to the source – the trolls themselves, and they are going to use their statutory power to get it.
Startups and their venture capital investors are caught in the crosshairs of patent trolls, but the damage these unscrupulous litigants are inflicting isn’t just legal or financial – it’s hampering business and stifling innovation, according to a new report that reaffirms the urgent need for aggressive legislative action by the U.S. Congress.
The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) just released a long awaited study on the consequences of patent litigation by nonpracticing entities, aka patent trolls. The study validates the position of Rackspace and thousands of other companies: overbroad and inscrutable software patents, which shouldn’t have been issued in the first place, are the primary reason patent trolls are able to target and extort settlements from legitimate operating businesses, diverting precious capital away from research, development and job creation. The GAO report adds to the overwhelming body of evidence that Congressional action is sorely needed to bring the $29 billion patent troll problem under control.