Tech launches new organization to galvanize patent reform

Tech launches new organization to galvanize patent reform
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Major technology companies are pooling together to launch a new alliance in the hopes of spurring patent reform.

The group, called the High Tech Inventors Alliance (HTIA), is composed of eight high-profile tech companies: Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel, Oracle and Salesforce, who collectively hold 115,000 patents.

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HTIA says that it aims to pursue regulatory and legislative reforms aimed at curbing what it sees as nuisance lawsuits over patent litigation. They contend that such cases inhibit them from being productive with the results of their research and development, which the HTIA’s members collectively spend $62.9 billion on annually.

“When the patent system does not function well, it undermines rather than supports innovation, to the detriment of all Americans — inventors, employees, investors in productive businesses and ultimately, consumers,” said John Thorne, the Alliance’s general counsel and spokesperson.

The new group is at odds with patent assertion entities, often dubbed “patent trolls,” who defend their actions. Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures an intellectual property (IP) licensing and development company has argued that the term “patent troll” is lobbed at any plaintiff in a patent case.

His company has also made the case that such patent companies have actually been helpful in the development of new inventions at startups like Nest, a thermostat startup.