News flash: Congress acts like legislative body

by. Henry Meier

Since even lunatics have moments of extreme clarity, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the House of Representatives came dangerously close to acting like a functioning legislative body yesterday and the result actually benefits credit unions.

The House took a break from its ideological frenzy to pass bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3309)supported by the credit union industry that seeks to deter Patent Troll lawsuits by making changes that, in the aggregate, will make plaintiff lawyers think twice before cranking out allegations of patent infringements to see who they can scare into a settlement. For example, the bill’s provisions would allow judges to make the losing party in litigation cover legal costs. In addition, parties bringing patent lawsuits will have to provide more specific information about the actual patent they claim is being infringed on. This may seem like common sense, but as someone who has seen patent infringement complaints sent to credit unions, it isn’t all that easy to figure out precisely what the claimed infringement is.

My quote of the day comes from Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, who told fellow members that “patent trolling is a total and complete abuse of the patent system and a total rip off of hard working people.”

Listen, no one should underestimate the value of a patent, but when litigation over patents is actually more valuable than the inventions the patents are ostensibly designed to protect, the system is out of whack. No credit union or any business, for that matter, should have to buy or sell new products with such uncertainty about who owns what. . .

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