Piecemeal Patent Reform

Patent trolls are one of the biggest scourges on the startup ecosystem in the US. The ideal solution, which was recently taken by the country of New Zealand, would be to ban software patents outright. But try as we might, it seems unlikely to happen in the US in the near term.

But that doesn't mean we aren't making headway against the trolls. A couple years ago, we got the America Invents Act which made some substantial changes to the way patents are reviewed and litigated. That bill had a provision (section 18) that allows financial services firms to take litigation over "covered business method patents" out of court and put them through a fast track USPTO process.

Last week Senator Chuck Schumer proposed to amend that bill with a one line amendment that extends the fast track USPTO review process for "covered business method patents" to everyone, not just financial service firms.

That seems like good policy for many reasons and I hope Senator Schumer's colleagues in the Senate and House jump onto this idea and help it become law.

My colleague Nick has a post on the USV blog about all of this and some suggestions for additional piecemeal patent reform that would help deal with this problem.