On February 20, the White House announced a series of programs to combat the patent troll problem and to improved the quality of patents generally. Three new programs were announced: (1) new procedures to allow examiner to take advantage of "crowd-sourced" prior art by making it easier for members of the public to bring prior art to the attention of the office; (2) better training for examiners in areas of rapidly-advancing technology; and (3) expanding the USPTO's patent pro bono initiative to cover low-income inventors in all 50 states.
The Whites House also reported on its progress on initiatives announced earlier.
- The USPTO has proposed a new rules requiring patentees to report the "attributable owners" of patents, making it harder for trolls to operate anonymously through shell companies. Those rules are in the public comment stage.
- A better training program for USPTO examiners, focusing on improving claims;
- A new "toolkit" on the USPTO website proving small businesses with advice on what to do if sued by a patent troll. You can access a beta version of that toolkit HERE.
- Better outreach to stakeholders and expanding the Edison Scholars program to enlist more academics and researchers to study the NPE problem.
- New procedures relating to enforcing exclusion orders from the ITC.