Senators aren't looking to write a major overhaul of patent law, but instead, to find remedies targeting PAE demand letters, said subcommittee Chairwoman Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. Without some ways to identify PAE practices, it will be difficult to measure the problem, she said.
Without new requirements to publish demand letters and identify patent holders, "how do we get beyond anecdotal?" she said. "How do we get at the problem?"
If Congress addresses the issue, it needs to protect small inventors who may have patent licensing as their primary business option, said Senator Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican. "How do we make sure we aren't harming, by trying to address the patent trolls, or decreasing the value of legitimate small innovators," she said. "These people that start out of a garage and have such great ideas, that's what America is all about."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.