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Dana Rao, vice president of Intellectual Property and Litigation at Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE), today appeared before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. Representing Adobe and other members of BSA | The Software Alliance, Rao testified during the hearing on “Abusive Patent Litigation: The Impact of American Innovation & Jobs, and Potential Solutions.” He spoke on the need to end abusive patent litigation and preserve the right of software developers to patent their inventions.
In his testimony, Rao urged Congress to focus on ending abusive litigation practices. “Companies like Adobe are overwhelmed by demand letters and suits by entities that don’t utilize the inventions they own or have any intention of doing so, but instead focus on making a quick profit by aggressively asserting a questionable patent. These quick profits are used to buy additional patents, which are then similarly monetized. No businesses are furthered, no jobs are created, and no progress of science or the useful arts is promoted,” Rao said. “We believe Congress can make important changes that will help curb opportunistic litigation. For example, patent law already permits shifting fees to address abuses of process. But the way the law is being applied, it is a high standard and rarely met. We should clarify the law, so a court can act when it sees litigation with telltale signs of abuse such as high plaintiff demands and low settlement offers — or no business in the field of the patent,” Rao added.
BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman said, “Patents play an important role in driving software innovation, which benefits the whole economy. But we need to continue improving the system to ensure patents are not used opportunistically in ways that disrupt the marketplace. Some will tell you software patents are the root cause of opportunistic litigation, and the solution is to stop granting patents on software or to make it much harder. We disagree. We should instead take practical steps to address the asymmetry of incentives that makes patent litigation an attractive business model while also continuing to improve the quality of our already strong patent system.”