Action needed to protect against patent trolls

The Linux Foundation, Unified Patents and Electronic Frontier Foundation hosted a webinar this week to give an overview of the serious issue of patent trolls and the recent proposal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to change the current rules for protecting and defending Open Source software from patent trolls.

OSI featured this issue on the blog in April, 2023: GNOME patent troll stripped of patent rights

These organizations are submitting a call for help to secure free software patent defense by submitting a comment, and the deadline is June 20, 2023 to do so.

To summarize some of the key points of the webinar, which you can watch here:

  • Inter Partes Review (IPR) was established in 2013 as a procedure for challenging the validity of a United States patent before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This process isn’t perfect, but it has been helping to hold patent trolls accountable and protect companies that are sued for using software that is falsely patented.
  • The cost to defend a lawsuit from patent trolls is so exorbitant, a small business’ only real option is to pay the patent troll, sending many of them into bankruptcy.
  • The rule changes being proposed by the government are making it harder for anyone to file a challenge against this type of patent, they’re making the process longer, more difficult and adding limits to who can challenge the patents at all.
  • All of this may prompt patent trolls to demand even more money, knowing the process of challenging their lawsuits is even more difficult and costly.

What you can do

Submit comments to the USPTO!

An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) has been issued, giving people the ability to submit a comment in response to these changes. The deadline to submit a comment is June 20, 2023.

Image created by the Linux Foundation.