White House takes a stand on tech patent wars with several recommendations

The Obama administration is setting up a new task force to "protect innovators from frivolous litigation."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

It has long been arguable that the patent wars permeating the technology sector and beyond have long surpassed a breaking point, but now the U.S. Government is getting more vocal about the issue.

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In order to spur more technological advancements while hopefully having the side effect of cutting back on these legal battles, the White House is introducing five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations to ensure the "highest-quality" tech patents are issued.

More pointedly, the Obama administration is setting up a new task force to protect innovators from what it described in a letter on Tuesday as "frivolous litigation."

While the memo does exude some diplomatic themes and rhetoric about fostering innovation, the White House doesn't mince words when it comes to the realities (and severity) of the situation, calling out "patent trolls," in particular.

Here's an excerpt from the memo:

The AIA put in place new mechanisms for post-grant review of patents and other reforms to boost patent quality. Meanwhile, court decisions clarifying the scope of patentability and guidelines implementing these decisions diminish the opportunity to game the patent and litigation systems. Nevertheless, innovators continue to face challenges from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), companies that, in the President’s words “don’t actually produce anything themselves,” and instead develop a business model “to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.” These entities are commonly known as “patent trolls.” Likewise, the so-called “Smartphone Patent Wars” have ballooned in recent years and today, several major companies spend more on patent litigation and defensive acquisition than on research and development.

The full copy with details about the five executive actions and seven recommentations is available on the White House website now.

Examples of these recommendations are more legal protections for consumers along with imposing more requirements upon anyone calling patent usage into question and/or filing an infringement suit.

The Obama administration has been increasingly vocal on a few different issues pressing the tech industry.

For instance, the White House issued an edict back in March arguing that it's time to legalize cell phone unlocking.

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