WASHINGTON (September 8, 2011) The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) urged the Senate to pass the patent reform bill with Section 18 intact, a key provision that helps prevent frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs for consumers.
“As it stands now, the financial services industry has a problem with ‘patent trolls’ – organizations designed to secure dubious, low-quality business method patents with the intention of filing onerous lawsuits and securing sizable settlements” said Jonathan Bergner, director of federal affairs for NAMIC. “All financial services firms, from the smallest mutual insurer, community bank, local credit union or insurance agent, to the largest global companies, are targets of this meritless litigation.”
The Senate is scheduled to hold a vote this evening on H.R. 1249, the House-passed version of broad patent reform legislation that has been the product of nearly a decade-long debate. Contained in the bill is Section 18 which establishes a program at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), where business-method patents can be re-examined to assess their validity. Currently, companies being sued have no meaningful recourse to challenge a patent and section 18 would change that.
“Many of these patents never should have been granted in the first place,” said Bergner, noting the absurdity of patenting things such as printing marketing materials directly on billing invoices rather than using statement stuffers. “Without changes to the current patent law review process, we will continue to see these entities – which make nothing and employ no one – abuse the system and hold hostage large segments of our economy’s financial engine.”
“We need the get patent reform done with Section 18 in place,” said Bergner. “With the year of natural disasters we’ve had, the last thing insurers should be forced to do is line the pockets of abusive litigants with money that is needed to protect their policyholders.”
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Posted: Thursday, September 08, 2011 2:02:24 PM. Modified: Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:47:27 AM.
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