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House Approves CUNA-Supported Patent Improvement Bill
WASHINGTON (12/6/13)--The U.S. House's Thursday approval of The Innovation Act of 2013 (H.R. 3309) "is welcome news for credit unions who have become a target of patent trolls, particularly with regard to ATM and check processing technology," Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney said.

The bill was approved by a 325 to 91 vote and will now move on to the Senate.

H.R. 3309, which was introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in late October, would remove some of the financial incentives sought by firms that assert low-quality patents in the hope of quick settlements. So-called "patent trolls" continue to use low-quality patents to try to extract settlements from credit unions and others. Credit unions have been sued for the use of certain ATM technologies, check imaging applications and check cashing applications, and providing members with mobile transactions through their smartphones.

The Thursday bill included several provisions important to credit unions, including language that gives the Patent and Trademark Office Director discretion to waive filing fees for Section 18 appeals. A CUNA-supported amendment that would require patent trolls to identify their parent entity when making a patent infringement claim was also included in the passed legislation.

Cheney said CUNA and credit unions appreciate the strong bipartisan vote. "This is welcome news for credit unions who have become a target of patent trolls, particularly with regard to ATM and check processing technology. The legislation is a strong step in the right direction, and we look forward to working with the Senate as they consider this issue," Cheney added.

CUNA and coalition partners on Wednesday supported H.R. 3309 in a letter sent to all House members. (See Dec. 5 News Now story: CUNA to House Leaders: Patent Bill Goes in 'Right Direction'.)

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