Archive for the ‘Intellectual Property’ Category

It’s Time to Support Software Industry Priorities

posted by in Intellectual Property March 3, 2015

The global software industry – exemplified by the unparalleled success of American-born innovation – is changing the way we live. Software creates jobs. It sustains vibrant economies. And it enables us to do amazing things by connecting human ingenuity with technology to not only improve how we live our lives every day but also turn remarkable new ideas into reality.

In recent years it’s been a challenge to foster cooperation and deal making in Washington. However, White House and congressional leaders seem eager to change this dynamic and demonstrate they can work together to pass legislation. This week, the General Counsels of BSA | The Software Alliance member companies are coming to Washington to urge action by Congress and the Obama Administration on a bipartisan, achievable, pro-growth agenda focusing on patent reform, government access to private data, and removing trade barriers. These issues don’t require new spending or changes in the tax code. But they are common sense, drive economic growth, and — with the right support – are achievable this year.

The time is now to pass strong patent reform legislation. The unnecessary costs from abuse of the patent litigation system are unacceptably high. Bad actors are bringing suits wherever the money trail leads them, hurting both large and small businesses across industries, like software, retail and manufacturing. Right now, the rules governing patent litigation are so imbalanced that they invite bad actors to abuse the system. Anyone can bring a frivolous patent lawsuit against an innovative company with little, to no, recourse. And they often do.

Patent lawsuits are incredibly expensive, especially for defendants, and these bad actors know this. They bring these frivolous lawsuits knowing that most companies will likely settle rather than fight. Defending what’s right has become too expensive in patent cases, and that’s just plain wrong.

But Congress can fix this. Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s Innovation Act passed the House last Congress 325-91, and this legislation enjoys bipartisan support in the House and Senate today. Enacting legislation like the Innovation Act will lower the cost of patent lawsuits and rebalance those costs so that both the plaintiff and defendant share similar financial risks. This bipartisan legislation will allow businesses across the economy to do what they do best: innovate, produce, hire, research, and add value to our economy.

Efforts to increase protection of individuals’ privacy and increase international trust in the digital economy have also secured broad-based support in Congress.  For example, recently introduced bi-partisan legislation by Sens. Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller and Chris Coons — the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act — would safeguard users’ electronic data and establish a balanced process for how law enforcement can obtain the information it needs, all while respecting the sovereign rights of other countries.

Backed by companies large and small, this legislation strikes the right balance between protecting privacy and giving law enforcement the tools they need to protect the public. Setting clear rules of the road for how governments access data will both help law enforcement and provide confidence to our customers that their private data is secure.

Trade is an equally pressing issue this year. We have the potential to move forward on landmark agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that for the first time would set global rules to actively encourage the free flow of data around the world. In order to ensure that these agreements are successfully completed with strong cross-border data provisions, Congress must pass updated Trade Promotion Authority legislation and provide our negotiating partners the confidence to give us their best offers.

But Congress isn’t the only place where action on trade is needed. The Administration needs to act now to ensure software created by US companies has full access to foreign markets and is not discriminated against by other governments. Too many countries around the world are erecting barriers to block trade in software and services. Whether it’s attempts in Brazil to dictate that data must be stored in-country or demands by China to turn over encryption technologies and keys and source code as a requirement for doing business in the country, these discriminatory practices are impacting how countries and people access – and reap the benefits of – the global economy.

The Administration must make removing barriers to market access for data services a top priority in their trade negotiations. And Congress must hold the Administration accountable to ensure the international community hears one, strong message.

As the leading voice for the software industry BSA is pleased that policymakers embrace software in both in their everyday lives and the policies they champion. We hope that Washington will focus on these critical issues this year and take action to support software innovation and the benefits it offers around the world.

This Op-Ed originally appeared on The Hill’s Congress Blog on Monday March 2, 2015.

Supreme Court Action on Patents Leaves Room for Reform

posted by in Intellectual Property February 12, 2015

Today, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing to examine recent Supreme Court cases in the patent arena. The hearing was carefully watched by opponents and supporters of the Innovation Act (HR 9), a bipartisan patent litigation reform bill introduced last week.

BSA and its member companies strongly support the Innovation Act. The bill is carefully crafted to curb abusive practices in patent litigation and to address asymmetries in the cost of patent litigation that provide incentives to assert weak patents and meritless infringement claims. Today’s hearing made clear that, while the Supreme Court has taken steps to correct imbalances in patent litigation, meaningful change lies beyond the Court’s role in interpreting existing law. (more…)

BSA Global Survey Reveals Security Concerns With Unlicensed Software — and Points to the Solution

posted by in Intellectual Property June 24, 2014

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Of all the priorities CIOs and IT managers are juggling these days — from cloud to mobility to data analytics — surveys find that cybersecurity is what keeps them up at night. And there’s good reason for that: Symantec dubbed 2013 the “Year of the Mega Breach” while the Economist Intelligence Unit found that more than 75 percent of organizations suffered a security incident in the past two years causing major system disruption or loss of sensitive data. (more…)

Affirming the Patentability of Software

posted by in Intellectual Property February 27, 2014

The Supreme Court next month will hear oral arguments in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp., an important case that could go a long way toward affirming that the breathtaking software innovations transforming the world around us are patentable just like any other form of innovation as long as they meet the standard tests of being new, useful, non-obvious and adequately described.

The debate about software patentability has been contentious in recent years, partly because it has been exacerbated by questionable inventions masquerading as software patents. Take the patents asserted by Alice Corp. They simply describe a well-known process for settling financial transactions — an abstract idea that has been around for centuries — and claim that performing the steps on a computer is an invention. The concept of performing intermediate settlements on a computer adds no substantial value and does not make the abstract idea patentable, so the Court should find Alice’s patents invalid. (more…)

Study Shows Impact of Software Infringement for Manufacturers

It has long been well understood that software is a key driver of growth and innovation because it serves as a tool of production for businesses across every sector of the global economy. It also follows that the impact of software intellectual property infringement is far reaching — and a new study quantifies that impact in the manufacturing sector.

Bill Kerr, associate professor at Harvard Business School, and Chad Moutray, chief economist for National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) have found that global software IP infringement is a significant drain on the US economy. Their study, commissioned by NAM and the National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation, reveals that between 2002 and 2012 software infringement cost nearly $240 billion in manufacturing revenue, $70 billion in GDP and more than 42,000 US manufacturing jobs.

Results of the study were discussed on January 30, 2014 in a panel discussion at NAM headquarters featuring the study authors and industry leaders:

Pass the Innovation Act

posted by in Intellectual Property December 3, 2013

The US House of Representatives is set to vote this week on the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), an important bipartisan bill that would curb abusive patent litigation by reducing the financial incentive for bad actors to engage in it.

BSA urges Members of Congress to support the bill.

We have laid out the case for balanced patent reform along with a detailed analysis of the Innovation Act on PatentPrinciples.org. For a great overview of why the bill is needed, we would also encourage everyone to watch this video from Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the bill’s sponsor:

New Economic Research Confirms the Competitive Advantage of Properly Licensed Software

BSA has long highlighted the ways properly licensed software creates value for enterprises and economies. For example, a body of research shows that fully licensed software improves productivity and efficiency by reducing exposure to viruses and other security vulnerabilities — meaning fewer system malfunctions, downtime, and IT repair costs. It also comes with value-added services such as access to upgrades, patches, and manufacturer support services, including training and problem resolution. (more…)

The Power of Innovative Ideas

posted by in Intellectual Property April 25, 2013

April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day, the day the World Intellectual Property Organization sets aside every year to promote discussion of the role IP plays in driving innovation, creativity, social progress and economic growth. But in truth, robust discussions of these issues are already well underway. (more…)

Clear Thinking on Software Patents

posted by in Industry, Intellectual Property February 22, 2013

In the vigorous, ongoing debate about the state of America’s patent system — and the state of software patents, in particular — there are some legitimate issues that call for practical solutions, and there is a great deal of peripheral noise. To sort through and identify which is which, BSA and the National Association of Manufacturers co-hosted a packed briefing event this week on Capitol Hill. (more…)

Patents Pending

posted by in Industry, Intellectual Property February 12, 2013

Recognizing the complex, rapidly evolving nature of software innovation, the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has formed a partnership with the software community and is holding two “roundtable” discussions this month to solicit input on how best to improve the quality of the software-related patents it issues. I spoke for BSA today at the first of these roundtable discussions, held on the campus of Stanford University in Silicon Valley, and my message was simple: The ability to patent software is critical for promoting innovation, but the process can always be improved. Software is no different from any other class of invention in that regard.
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