The USPTO should act with great care as it begins deliberations on reforms to the inter partes review (IPR) program. Developers Alliance members depend on IPR as a method to defend themselves against harmful and frivolous shakedowns by non-practicing entities (NPEs).
Washington, D.C. June 20, 2023 – The Developers Alliance has released the following statement addressing the United States Patent and Trademark Office request for comment on its advance notice of proposed rulemaking.
- Prior to the creation of IPR, non-practicing entities ran rampant, issuing demand letters to developers who ran afoul of their questionable patents and legal shakedown tactics. Most developers work for small- and medium-size firms, and these demand letters were – and, in some cases still are – a death sentence.
- Inter partes review has proven to be an effective alternative to the court system for developers. IPR is significantly less expensive and quicker than having the case litigated in a federal district court.
- While IPR has been useful, it is notionally a patch on an otherwise broken system: it is incumbent upon the USPTO to improve its patent issuing processes to ensure it’s issuing only valid patents.
The following quote can be attributed to Geoff Lane, Head of U.S. Policy for the Developers Alliance:
“As the USPTO considers whether to make changes to IPR, it should keep in mind just how beneficial the program has been for developers and the firms that employ them. Those who have benefited most from it are small- and medium-sized firms that are the backbone of innovation and our economy. Any changes to this successful program will undoubtedly only end up strengthening the hand of NPEs. NPEs create nothing and are a drag on our economy. They sit on overly broad or expiring patents to extort honest innovators and companies. These extortions curb growth and our global competitiveness. The USPTO must keep IPR in place. IPR is an economical choice for many firms who otherwise would have to spend years and millions of dollars to navigate an intimidating court system.”
About The Developers Alliance
The Developers Alliance is the world’s leading advocate for software developers and the companies invested in their success. Alliance members include industry leaders in consumer, enterprise, industrial, and emerging software development, and a global network of more than 75,000 developers.
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