(Almost) everyone loves the new patent reform bill

New iteration of patent reform bill aimed at neutralizing trolls has bipartisan and industry support, but some business groups are uneasy

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Bad idea, says the BSA

Many who've previously raised objections with the patent system in its current form are elated by the bill. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it "the best patent troll-killing bill yet" and urges support. The National Retail Federation also welcomed it, citing the negative effects of patent trolling on both "Traditional brick-and-mortar merchants and e-commerce companies alike."

The App Developers Alliance, the Computer and Communication Industry Association, and the Information Technology Industry Council have also chimed in with their support.

But not everyone is thrilled. The BSA was generally pleased with the bill but withheld endorsement for the patent re-examination provision, which it felt created an overly broad definition of business method patents. Its worry was that "any party sued for or charged with infringement can always challenge an extremely broad range of patents at the USPTO," and being able to challenge such patents would "create uncertainty and risk that discourage investment in any number of fields where we should be trying to spur continued innovation."

The BSA was also worried about expanding the CBM program, which "could inadvertently undermine many valid patents by giving infringers a new procedural loophole to delay enforcement.... Infringers would be able to delay legitimate lawsuits they face in district court by initiating CBM proceedings at the PTO. This would buy time to gain market share on innovative, patent-holding competitors."

Another critic of the CBM program expansion, the Innovation Alliance (which spoke out previously against the Patent Reform Act of 2009), noted that the CBM had only been in operation for a year and stated, "There is no evidence at this early juncture to suggest that the program is not working or needs to be changed or extended."

But if these are the most vigorous objections mounted to the bill so far -- at least, mounted by those who aren't themselves trolls -- it's unlikely that the existing opposition will be enough to stall its momentum.

This story, "(Almost) everyone loves the new patent reform bill," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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