Not just tech: supermarkets, hotels, retailers all want to see patent reform in 2013. Nate Gray / flickr Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) will introduce an anti-patent-troll bill on the House floor today, Issa’s legislative director told reporters in a call this morning.
The gist of the bill is that it will greatly expand a modest “review” program for business method patents that was part of the 2011 America Invents Act. “Patent trolls have become an enormous headache for our industry, and those costs are sent down to consumers,” said Erik Lieberman, a lawyer for the Food Marketing Institute, a supermarket trade group that was also on the call. “The average profit margin in our industry is less than one percent.
This is not just a high-tech issue.” Lieberman explained why the supermarket industry was getting heavily involved with patent reform: in growing numbers, supermarkets are being accused of patent infringement for using basic website functions. In recent years, supermarkets have been hit with patents claiming rights to “store locator” features on websites, having a clickable menu on a website, rendering JPEG graphics, and sending out text messages with embedded links, said Lieberman.