SAS supports White House efforts to curtail patent trolls
SAS to make nearly 40 years of technical documentation available to US patent office
Lawsuits filed by patent trolls cost innovators $500 billion in lost wealth from 1990 to 2010, according to a 2012 Boston University study. SAS, the analytics software provider, has testified before Congress on the dangers of patent trolls and will be present today when the White House announces new initiatives to protect American innovation.
Patent trolls, aka non-practicing entities (NPEs), assert patents against companies in an attempt to collect license fees, but do not otherwise manufacture products or provide services. They use the cost of the litigation to force settlements from the operating companies. For small companies, it could mean closing their doors.
SAS strongly supports the efforts of US government leaders to reform patent litigation through legislative, judicial and executive actions to limit abusive behavior by patent trolls. The patent troll problem is felt across all industries and affects small entrepreneurs and huge corporations, and it is on the rise. Patent Freedom says patent troll lawsuits have grown by an average of 22 percent per year since 2004, with 3,716 lawsuits filed in 2013.
Tim Wilson, SAS Senior Intellectual Property Counsel, is attending today’s White House announcement. “The sole purpose of these entities is to file questionable lawsuits that force companies to pay them off or mount expensive legal defenses,” Wilson said. “They are a threat to American competitiveness. We encourage companies to actively support government efforts to curb patent litigation abuse.”
In response to a call from the Administration, SAS will convert 38 years of user documentation and technical papers to electronic form and provide it to IP.com, which has partnered with the USPTO to publish, aggregate and analyze technical documentation. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reviews hundreds of thousands of patent applications each year, and faces the difficult task of locating the most closely related prior technical documents (called “Prior Art”). Complicating matters, patent examiners often lack access to important Prior Art and only have a limited amount of time to search for it.
“Providing our information to IP.com will give patent examiners the ammunition they need to object to questionable patent applications,” said Wilson.
SAS also provides patent examiners technical training to familiarize them with the latest SAS® software so that they can more effectively analyze patent applications. In addition, SAS holds an annual forum on NPE Litigation where in-house IP counsel can discuss NPE issues.
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