White House Considers Executive Order to Combat Patent Trolls

(White House) The White House introduced a study for an executive order intended to combat patent trolling, the practice of buying patents to take advantage of U.S. liability culture. Patents have been a significant obstacle to progress and innovation in the 3D printing sector for some time now.

The White House blog states: “There are a growing number of companies, commonly called ‘patent trolls,’ who employ these litigation tactics as a business model — costing the economy billions of dollars and undermining American innovation. In the last two years, the number of lawsuits brought by patent trolls has nearly tripled, and account for 62% of all patent lawsuits in America. All told, the victims of patent trolls paid $29 billion in 2011, a 400% increase from 2005 — not to mention tens of billions dollars more in lost shareholder value.”

Shane Taylor commented on the White House executive order in today’s issue of 3D Printing Industry. Taylor cautions that the new order may not be all that helpful because: 1) The US patent system’s administration facility, US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is under-staffed owning to small government mentality and other factors, and consequently has a 700,000+ backlog of unexamined patents. The order makes no attempt to change this. 2) A loophole in the existing America Invents Act meant that patent trolls haven’t been deterred from one of it’s central tenants: suing multiple defendants.