With a hat tip to Dennis Crouch at Patently-O, President Obama recently addressed the patent troll “problem” as part of a Google Fireside Hangout.  The patent troll question and the President’s answer start shortly after the 16:00 mark of the following video:


President Obama’s answer is straightforward and focused upon addressing the problem.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • A couple of years ago, the President began a process of patent reform, but “it has not captured all of the problems.”
  • Patent reform efforts “only went about half way to where we need to go.”
  • Solving patent troll issues is “challenging” because you have to balance protecting the rights of inventors and all of the other issues of the various stakeholders.
  • President Obama says that we need to bring the stakeholders in the issue together to work on ways to solve the problem.  He and his administration are trying to be an “honest broker” between the stakeholders to work out solutions.

President Obama’s comments echo what we are seeing from the administration with the December 2012 DOJ/FTC workshop on patent trolls and the recent PTO roundtables on various issues, such as patentability of software and whether recording assignments should be mandatory.   This is great news for retailers.  It makes it even more clear that the administration is focused on these issues and looking for solutions.