Section 18 of the America Invents Act
Yesterday we hosted a conversation between David Kappos, the Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, and a bunch of founders/CEOs of our portfolio companies. It was a far reaching conversation that gave me optimism that our government does realize the issues with our patent system, particularly as it relates to software and business method patents.
There was one thing that we discussed that is very important and needs to be publicized broadly.
Section 18 of last year's America Invents Act provides for a "post-grant review proceeding for review of the validity of covered business method patents." Here's the provision. The USPTO has interpreted that provision and it is now fully implemented.
Here's what this means. If you are sued or threatened with a suit over a business method patent, you can submit the business method patent to the USPTO for a "post grant review." If the USPTO determines that patent is overly broad or should not have been issued, it will be thrown out in its entirety.
You can do this as part of your defense strategy and it will cost a fraction of a litigation defense. And the USPTO is required to complete the post grant review within one year of submittal, well ahead of any trial schedule.
So if you have been sued or if you are sued in the future over a business method patent, you should avail yourself of this post-grant review. It is faster, less expensive, and may well result in the elimination of bogus business method patents. And that's a good thing for everyone other than the troll who is suing you.