Today the White House issued a Fact Sheet entitled: White House Task Force on High-Tech Patent Issues. These recommendations and Actions cover a variety of topics, notably (summarized here for brevity - link to White House Fact sheet follows):
- Requiring patentees and applicants to disclose the "Real Party-in-Interest" (don't obfuscate who you are)
- Permit more discretion in awarding fees to prevailing parties in patent cases (sanction for abusive court filings - similar to legal standard for copyright cases)
- Demand letter transparency - incentivizing public filing of demand letters in a way that makes them accessible and searchable to the public
- Making "Real Party-in-Interest" the New Default - designating the "ultimate parent entity" in control of the patent or application
- Tightening Functional Claiming - training examiners on scrutiny of functional claims (particularly in the context of software) to improve claim clarity
- Protection for Downstream Users - protect off-the-shelf use by consumers and businesses
- Strengthen Enforcement of Exclusion Orders - evaluate the scope of exclusion orders and work to ensure the process and standards utilized during exclusion order enforcement are transparent, effective, and efficient.
Obviously, it remains to be seen how this will manifest in legislation and actual change, but there are some pretty interesting aspects to this announcement, in particular around transparency and identification of the various parties in the patent process.
Read the full Fact Sheet at the White House web site.