The Patent Reform Act of 2009 was introduced on March 3 by a group of senior Congressional leaders on intellectual property policy. The Patent Reform Act of 2009 is the third time that major patent reform legislation has been introduced in the Congress. Patent abuse is a serious issue that is growing at a dramatic rate. Patent abusers — including inventors who tailor their claims and file extensions over time to target manufacturing activities, patent house businesses and patent attorneys — are exploiting the patent system. These predators essentially invent patents rather than patent inventions, effectively holding innovative manufacturing companies hostage with lawsuits that seek injunctive or monetary relief disproportionate to the true value of the invention. This creates a significant off-shoring incentive for U.S. manufacturing companies.
In the last 10 years alone, there has been a 60 percent increase in annual patent lawsuits filed in the U.S., with the simplest cases costing more than $3 million to defend and the more complicated cases costing more than $7 million to defend. Micron spends millions of dollars annually to defend itself in patent lawsuits, many of which involve patents of questionable value or with claims drafted to cover a larger system in which the specific invention resides.
Micron is working with other technology companies and trade groups to develop support for reforms that are critical to protect innovative manufacturers and the patent system. Micron is a major innovator in the patent arena. The company annually ranks in the top 10 for U.S. patents, and it is one of only a handful of U.S.-based companies to achieve that recognition. In total, Micron has more than 17,000 patents globally.
"The patent system has become a distraction from innovation rather than a source of innovation, and it must be reformed through targeted legislation," said Steve Appleton, Micron Chairman and CEO. "Micron is working with other technology companies and trade groups, to develop support for reforms that are critical to protect innovative manufacturers and the patent system."