Patent reform stalled in Congress last year, but some solons are pushing hard for it this year. One bloc looking for reforms wants to rein in patent lawsuits. This reform would make it tougher for companies and individuals to file suits to block a patent.
Many in Congress want to do something about so-called "patent trolls," who attempt to enforce patent rights for a sum far beyond the realistic value of the patent. Some trolls don't even deal in products or services tied to the patent in question.
On January 13th, the blog techdirt.com had a column by its editor, Mike Masnick. He had been moderator of a panel on patent reform. The headline of his column: "Qualcomm Says It's Fighting for the Little Guy, While really Blocking Patent Reform That Would Help the Little Guy." Wrote Masnick, "Qualcomm has been a longtime fighter against patent reform — which isn't all that surprising, as a big part of Qualcomm's business has been licensing its patents."
North County's Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the intellectual property subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, was a panel participant. So was Qualcomm lawyer Laurie Self. Masnick wrote that "You can see [Issa's] visible frustration with Qualcomm and Self basically being a key player in holding up any progress [on patent reform]...Issa pointed out, quite clearly, that Self was being very misleading in claiming that there was no way to determine what was abusive. He explained a variety of abusive practices."
Masnick wrapped up his column by saying, "Giant patent holding companies like Qualcomm are pretending that they 'represent the little guy' and are doing everything possible to muddy the waters and block real reform that targets abuse."
Qualcomm refused to comment.