Intel, Cisco, HP tackle patent reform

Coalition for Patent Fairness forms to lobby for changes to patent litigation, which, as in the Blackberry case, unjustly enriches patent trolls.

Looking back, the Blackberry patent infringement case will stand as a watershed moment in the patent reform movement. With Research in Motion paying off IP owner NTP to the tune of $612.5 million, you just knew the technology world would eventually step up to the plate.

So now, Intel, Cisco and HP, among others, have formed the Coalition for Patent Fairness, to focus on reforms in patent litigation, rather than patent filing, News.com reports. Doug Comer, HP's director of legal affairs, heads the coalition.

A key focus for CPF is patent trolls - companies that own patents but produce nothing and exist primarily to sue companies with deep pockets.

"We are concerned about what we see as the growing imbalance in the application of patent law heavily in favor of plaintiff-as-patent-holder at the expense of patent holders more focused on developing, producing and marketing," Comer said. "Generally, we are interested in improving the way remedies are applied, the way damages are assessed in the courts, and the function in the courts."

Choice of venue is a concern because patent law falls under federal jurisdiction, so cases can be filed anywhere a patent has been infringed. Defendants complain that this broad interpretation allows plaintiffs to seek out sympathetic judges and file in those federal courts.

"The primary focus of this coalition is the litigation abuses that have evolved in the patent system," said Comer. "There are cases in front of courts that are inadequately equipped to deal with the complex questions surrounding the technology of some patent litigation. We are interested in improving the quality of the courts the cases are in front of."

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