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Washington
NEW: This week on patent reform: What's brewing
WASHINGTON (4/3/14, UPDATED 9:28 a.m. ET)--A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday--April 8--on patent reform issues, entitled "Trolling for a Solution: Ending Abusive Patent Demand Letters." That announcement comes amid reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee's expected patent reform bill markup could be delayed from April 3 to April 8.
 
At the Tuesday 10 a.m. hearing, the subcommittee will gather testimony from stakeholders regarding the "growing abuse" of patent demand letters.  
 
"In recent years, small businesses have increasingly been targeted with financial threats through demand letters. Businesses are often told to either pay for a license within a short period of time, or face going to court for infringing the sender's vaguely defined and often specious intellectual property rights," the subcommittee notice explains. Credit unions are among the businesses to fall victim to the patent exploitation.

However, patent demand letters are not always abusive and the subcommittee intends to explore ways to prevent the bad actors from abusing the process.

Patent law reforms to address "trolls" is a significant issue for credit unions and is seeing a lot of attention from lawmakers on both the federal and state levels.

The Credit Union National Association and many state credit union leagues continue to heavily advocate for patent reforms on Capitol Hill and in state legislative offices.

CUNA also participated in a recent White House gathering of stakeholders to discuss patent law reforms--including addressing the plague of patent trolls. At the meeting, the U.S. Patent and Tarde Office unveiled a website to help consumers and businesses who receive demand letters understand their rights and get answers to common questions.  See the resource link.
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