Obama Takes Swipe At Patent Trolls In Call For Further Reform

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US President Obama took aim yesterday at so-called patent trolls and said that further US patent reform is needed. He also called for a continued focus on protection of IP rights, but signalled a need for balance with openness.

“They don’t actually produce anything themselves,” President Obama said when asked about problem of “patent trolls,” which are also referred to as non-practicing patent-holding entities. “They are essentially trying to leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.” Some have raised questions about the basis for criticism of non-practising entities.

President Obama, during a virtual Google+ fireside “hangout”, fielded questions on a variety of topics before turning his attention to intellectual property policies affecting the US. He praised his administration’s progress in ongoing patent reform but noted legislative shortcomings, saying “it hasn’t captured all the problems.”

“Our efforts at patent reform only went halfway to the point where they need to go,” he said.

President Obama closed out the topic by advocating for a balance between protection and internet freedom.

“I’m an ardent believer that what’s powerful about the internet is its openness and its capacity for people to get out there and introduce a new idea with low barriers to entry,” he said. “We also want to make sure that people’s intellectual property is protected and whether it’s how we’re dealing with copyright, how we’re dealing with patents, how we’re dealing with piracy issues. What we’ve tried to do is be an honest broker between the various stakeholders and to continue to refine it, hopefully keeping up with the technology, which doesn’t mean that there aren’t occasionally going to be some problems that we still haven’t identified and have to keep on working on.”

Watch the full video here.

Kelly Burke may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

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